Ottawa Fashion Network: Event Participation

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Image from Facebook

Networking in person, especially in the winter, can be a struggle. When I saw this event on Eventbrite, an event management website, I thought I would give it a shot since I am interested in fashion and would like to meet others with similar interests here in Ottawa.

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My Golden Ticket

Not expecting the pouring rain, I still hustled myself over to the venue by myself and am glad I did. I was a bit nervous at first, since there weren’t too many people there and everyone seemed to already be in friend groups. The loud music didn’t help things.

However, luckily I found another girl who was also there by herself and sat near her. We got to talking after a little while, both glad to have someone to talk to and get to know!

Surprisingly, she was also in communications and we had a lot in common that we could discuss. I got her contact details (Instagram) and we plan on talking more later this week.

“You have to use what you have.”

When I was telling her all about my networking in London and how much more fun it was over there in comparison to Ottawa, she told me something that made me think which was about using what you have.

She made me rethink how I view Ottawa, and realize that there is a place for fashion and ingenuity in my home city. I always like to have new perspectives so I really appreciated that comment.

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What is different from in person events is all the preparation that is involved. I definitely spent a while planning what I was going to wear that would fit the ambiguous ‘dress to impress’ dress code.

After googling what to wear to a networking event, and what a ‘mixer’ even was, I settled on this hopefully chic look to the left.

The amount of effort it takes to look effortless is exhausting sometimes. The icing on the cake was being complimented not on my outfit, but the highlighter (makeup) on my face. Such is life!

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I was also able to see the guest list on Facebook. After scanning through, I found a designer whom I didn’t see at the event but thought was cool so I sent her a  message on Instagram.

You never know, maybe we’ll meet up some time as well! A mix between in person and online networking is key.

Overall, I am definitely glad that I went to this event and will go to more in the future when I can. I got out of my comfort zone and made a worthwhile connection. The Ottawa Fashion Network also reposted my snippet of their event, so I’m on their radar now as well which is great.

If that wasn’t enough, networking in person leads to some great appetizers! It’s rude to not eat the free food.

What kind of networking is more your style? Let me know in the comments!

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One of many events to come!

Blog Post #3: Professional Networking Now and in the Future

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Photo from Eventbrite

In the past while I was living in London, networking was easy. I would attend multiple events per week in the evenings after work, as well as connect online on LinkedIn and Instagram. 

There was always something going on, which made for a pretty hectic work week but kept up the excitement to the point where I never really had time to be nervous about meeting new people since it was so fast paced. 

Since being back in Ottawa, over the past few months I have definitely let the cold weather keep me more indoors. There’s not as much going on in terms of events, but through different search mediums I can get the most out of my location.

Eventbrite is a great source for finding events in cities all over the world. Some events cost money, but quite a few of them are free. You are able to search by location or key word, and input dates to refine your search. 

Another application I use to find events is Couchsurfing. This is primarily an app that lets you find hosts for free accommodation. There is also a feature where you can search for events in whatever city you are in.

I was able to network and meet amazing people in Paris, for example, when I was doing photography for a festival. We met at the Louvre, all not knowing each other, had a picnic and then went to the festival together. How cool is that?

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Couchsurfing friends and I in Paris, Lollapalooza 2017

Currently, I have been looking at Facebook events to see what events are coming up or that show friends in attendance. Eventbrite is also still a great tool to find both online and in person networking events. 

In the next 6-12 months I will be working at a new job, so I hope to network as much as I can there and meet new people. I also plan to attend any relevant events I can find that interest me or can aid in my professional development. 

After meeting someone in person, I could also be more vigilant in connecting online via LinkedIn as well. Making the extra effort and keeping in touch with people is necessary to building that connection. 

Instagram is a growing platform for networking—following certain hashtags can allow me to find new people or brands to connect with that may share my same interests. 

I would like to attend at least one in person networking event per month—whether for work or for personal endeavours. I also want to post three times per week on Instagram with insightful and artistic content highlighting my photography or other skills. 

Just showing up to events is half the battle for me, since I can be quite anxious when I am by myself—but I also realize that I have the most potential for networking when I am alone as it forces me to get outside my comfort zone.

When I attend events I usually like to set a goal, like talking to three new people and collecting at least one business card or contact information. Making one strong connection is better than saying hello to many people and not fully resonating with anyone. 

Connecting online is generally much easier than in person; however, if I can get through to someone in person and then follow up online, that is my preferable route to building a strong professional relationship. 

What is your favourite way to connect? Let me know in the comments!

Networking now (COM0015)

What is networking? To me the image of business owners standing in a room, exchanging pleasantries and business cards come to mind. However in this day and age it can be so much more.

With the creation of social media it is easier to find like minded individual, or even networklike-minded I am slowly joining and networking with local business owners and exchanging services. This is allowing me to create a personal network. I have also joined multiple Facebook group; there I have virtually met some great contacts.

Some of the groups I am in are planning some local meet ups and I am planning on going and growing my network.

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I am also working on creating online relationships; chatting, following others, learning, and forging links. I am trying to grow my network and slowly trying to expand out of my professional circle and expanding in french and english. I need to work on releasing appealing content for them.

Ultimately I want to be close enough in others forethoughts that if my industry comes up in regular conversation that my name would be one that they remember and suggest.  (Just as if you ask, I have a few businesses, local and online, that I can recall and suggest because of good networking).

COM0015 – Blog #3 – Professional Networking

 

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For me, social networking is an ongoing process both in-person and online. I think in today’s job economy, even if you are happy and secure in your job, you still want to be continuously building and developing relationships with your business associates. And I think that most people do.
I am currently just getting back into the working world after a very long absence from work, so my networking approach right now is slightly different than it might have previously been, because I’m reconnecting not only to the people, but to the environment and the industry.

My strategy for developing my professional network is the same online as it is in person, and that is to cultivate and develop relationships. It should not all be about what I can offer them, or what they can offer me. It’s how we can work together to achieve a common goal.

I can be self conscious if I don’t know people well, so developing online rapport is beneficial to me because it will create a more relaxed face-to-face setting. Most of my clients and colleagues communicate online through email, Facebook and Skype, and it is usually through one of these platforms that our relationship develops prior to meeting.

I believe in developing quality not necessarily quantity. I aim to create solid relationships where there is mutual respect from both parties, and I look to current relationships to network from.

I have also realized the importance that LinkedIn plays in the job market now, and that it is an important tool, not only if you are looking for a job, but also to create and facilitate relationships. I am embarrassed to say that my profile is loooong overdue for an update.

Over the next few months, I have a number of goals:
• Reconnect and reestablish prior relationships
• Arrange face-to-face meetings or dinners with colleagues to reestablish relationships
• Determine if the online and in-person networking strategies have changed while I’ve been away.
• Update my LinkedIn profile and build on my existing network.

COM0015 Blog #3 | A Shy Person’s Plan for Networking

shy_person_networkingAs a shy person, I much prefer networking online. I like that you can seek out people with whom you’d like to connect and learn a little bit about them and find the things you have in common to help you make that connection. It’s a lot less intimidating to reach out to someone in a controlled environment.

While personally, I dread the idea of networking, professionally, I understand the value of networking to gain and retain clients and to form relationships with suppliers. To help me do this, I plan on growing my network on Twitter and attending at least one—baby steps!—professional networking event in person within the next six months.

I recently changed my personal Twitter account into a “professional” account—meaning I’ve now identified my employer and position; I’m reaching out to stakeholders, retweeting my employer’s tweets and sharing content that’s more oriented to best practices in business communications. I’ve already gained over 60 new followers in the last month, so I’m growing my network. The challenge for me right now is to find the balance between “personal me” and “professional me.” Now that my employer is known, even though I’ve posted a disclaimer that my tweets are mine, I want to remain professional, but I also don’t want to censor everything I write.

To meet my goal of attending at least one networking event in person, I will finally accept an invitation I receive from a supplier. Planning events is a big part of my job, and I often receive invitations from hotels and tourism bureaus. So that I’ll feel comfortable knowing at least one person in the room, I’ll grab a colleague and go. I’ll admit I’ll have to work really hard at keeping this goal. In-person networking intimidates me, and I’ve gotten good at finding reasons to avoid it.

Communications professional and educator Susan Murphy offers great networking tips for shy people in her blog post, More Advice for the Shy. This is advice I’ll definitely follow. How about you?

Image by Dell.