networkingOver the past 10 months, I have attended several networking activities including; conferences, summits, Atlas Corps, and American Express events. When Atlas Corps fellows come together for Global Leadership Lab (GLL), they network and share ideas of how to address the world’s 21st century challenges. This is face-to-face networking and what begins at the GLL goes a long way. Fellows are able to contact each other around the world when traveling and this is because they turned the contacts they made into connections. One major lesson I have learned is, during networking; make valuable new contacts, offer some good advice, and get the most out of any networking opportunity.

I serve at American Express Leadership Academy as the Alumni lead and I’ve experienced the power of networking. American Express, in partnership with Atlas Corps, will be hosting Global Alumni Summit in New York City on April 4th and 5th, 2016. The two-day event will bring together a diverse pool of 50 Leadership Academy Alumni to continue to strengthen the personal growth and professional networks developed during their participation in the Leadership Academy. This will be a powerful face-to-face networking event, and a great opportunity for peers to learn, share and connect with each other.

You may be excited the first time you attend an event especially after exchanging several business cards hoping you have networked. This is just the beginning; don’t lose hope if you don’t hear back from the people you met. It is just the beginning of a broader network to come. The best thing to do is to follow up with the contacts you made, because if you don’t, they will never be part of your network. What we can learn here is; networking is not a quick fix but a means for building long-term relationships. Remember to carry handful of business cards in your pocket or wallet because you never know whom you may meet.

If you get an opportunity to attend any networking event, do not stick with the people you know. Spend some time walking around talking to people you don’t know. You have nothing to lose but much more to gain. Do not forget to write some notes at the back of the business cards you receive to remember the people you met. You can set a personal goal of meeting at least five people at every event you attend and making sure you exchange business cards.

Many cities around the world have networking events happening every other week. Google events around your city and choose which ones to attend. As I conclude my blog today, I want to leave you with a very powerful quote:

“Networking is not just about connecting people. It’s about connecting people with people, people with ideas, and people with opportunities” – Michele Jennae. Source: