My very nice financial advisor, Paige, sent me an invitation earlier this spring for a women only networking luncheon. Unbeknownst to me, Paige followed my style blog and thought this event would be a perfect fit for me.
Oh, she was right. Sponsored by Edward Jones, about seventy-five of us met at the Brio Tuscan Grille on the Kansas City Plaza. With lunch came a presentation by networking specialist Alana Muller along with a copy of Alana’s book, The Practical Field Guide For Master Networking–plus a bottle of Kate Spade’s Walking on Air perfume.
I had such a good time visiting with interesting people that I forgot to take pictures!
Alana’s presentation and the visiting afterwards inspired me to do more of what I’ve only just barely started.
As a teacher for thirty years in the same building–walking the same halls, teaching the children of children that I had taught in years’ past–networking and collaboration happened all the time. Everyone knew who I was. After a while, it seemed I came with the building.
Then came retirement and this adventure of style/fashion blogging. Admittedly, I could sit here on my farm, style outfits, blog away, and life would not change much. However, I’ve wanted to be a little more involved in the larger world and try to make some contribution to the Kansas City fashion community.
I’ve thought about why that is so important to me. Probably, it has something to do with being “always a teacher.” Plus I’ve long been interested in the history of the garment industry in Kansas City. I know that through grass-root groups, efforts are being made to revive some of the stature and creativity.
These efforts intrigued me and I wanted to help, even if it was small. There was one problem: I didn’t know a soul in the Kansas City fashion design community.
In her book, Alana suggests three questions to judge if you are well-networked:
- Do you know many people in my own city, industry and/or interest groups?
- Do those people know you too?
- Do you find it easy to meet new people, gather information and seek to connect with others?
My answers would be no, especially on point three. I had never needed to know anyone outside my own sphere of education. Further, it was somewhat uncomfortable for me to walk into a large room and not know anyone.
However, on March 12th, 2016 (and terribly under-dressed, I might add) that is what I did. I attended a Kansas City Fashion Week charity event for Rightfully Sewn. Fortunately, Jennifer Lapka Pfeifer, the force behind Rightfully Sewn greeted me. Jennifer demonstrated perfect networking skills. She was gracious, kind, and could deliver a concise, clear message about her organization. I came home with only two contacts that night, but that was a start.
Networking will probably always be hard for me, but Alana Muller’s lunch/workshop was encouraging. Also, on our tables were flyers with some great tips on how to network, which I want to share. Alana states that these tips are from her friend and mentor Eric Morgenstern, President and CEO of Morningstar Communications.
- Name tag on the right
- Restate their name
- “Questions are the Creative Acts of Intelligence.”-Albert Einstein
- The Early Bird Catches the Connections
- Stand by the Food/Bar
- Think Quality vs. Quantity
- Write on the Business Cards
- It’s Not Who You Know…It’s Who Knows You
- Don’t say “Fine”
Another useful tool, and one that Jennifer aptly know how to do, is to have a thirty second “elevator speech”. To quote Alana’s book, “Create a succinct description of who you are, your background, strengths and objectives. Include just enough to intrigue the other party-their continued interest and follow up questions will let you know whether you have done a good job of presenting yourself.”
I am working on that one.
With my abilities and interests, I’ve been wanting to make a difference. Alana Muller’s workshop and her book, The Practical Field Guide For Master Networking, were most encouraging to me. Especially if you are not comfortable about networking, I would like to hear back from some of you on some of your experiences. If you are a blogger, have you ever needed to network to promote your blog?
Links to Places and Things Mentioned in This Story
Paige Fowler, (my Edward Jones financial advisor in the Waldo area of Kansas City)
This was an extra post and the usual Sunday fashion post will publish at its usual time.
In the mean time, thank you for reading this and take care.
And don’t forget, the July 2nd Loved 1st Friday Linkup goes on all month!
Any post on a blog, Instagram, Facebook or the like can linkup to this style celebration. If you can copy and paste the URL in the Linky box, you are good to go!
One item is quite OK—a hat, skirt, pants, shoes, purse, or a piece of jewelry. That item (or items) can be from a thrift shop, eBay, consignment shop, vintage boutique, one of the online consignment shops such as RealReal–or even something a friend gave you because they didn’t want it anymore.
When you do post, I would appreciate a description about your 2nd Loved item (or items), what type of shop you found it and what drew you to it. Tell as much or as little as you want. To be featured in my collage, which I will put on Instagram along with your links, you have to say what item is second loved. That is a “have to”.
If you have never participated in a linkup before, no fear. Go to Linkup 101 guide that is found on my 2nd Loved 1st Friday linkup page (also found at the top in the tab section).
Just click the frog below to link up and join the fun!