MSEJ November 2017 - Page 20

3 Ways This Event Proves Professional Networking is Changing

Nearly 300 military Veterans and spouses attended the inaugural Military Influencer Conference (MIC) in October. The event, which was held in Dallas, Texas, was organized by Army soldier Curtez Riggs who wanted to create a platform for collaboration among brands, businesses, and influencers. Each day included keynote speakers and breakout sessions that touched on topics from being a brand ambassador to generating income on Pinterest to blogging.

What also emerged from this event was an awareness that networking is breaking free from those traditional norms we are so often taught. Networking is no longer just handing out business cards and tossing out an elevator pitch. MIC challenged attendees to move beyond these models. Everyone there had a need and a want, and the setup offered an invaluable chance to set sights on bigger goals, louder dreams, and higher earning potentials. Perhaps it was the common thread of a military connection that made the experience different, but there was no doubt that the people in those rooms had an authentic mission to help the stranger next to them.

Networking is a fluid situation

Judy Davis, founder of The Direction Diva, kicked off day one by urging the audience to approach connecting in a unique way. She said that to be memorable to the person you are meeting, it is important to listen more than you speak.

Far too often, we are advised to have a robotic speech prepared that lists off resume bullets and

titles, but what does that all really mean? Most likely the person you are speaking with is busy concentrating on their own elevator pitch, which means that your carefully practiced elevator pitch is falling on inattentive ears.

Davis shared that instead, she wanted to encourage attendees to dive deeper,

“The motivation was that at an event full of successful influencers and entrepreneurs all of us have had our fill of superficial networking,” she said. “By taking it to a personal level, true long-term relationships can form. Relationships that allow us to better support one another effectively.”

By Bianca Strzalkowski