A couple weeks ago on November 16th, I helped plan, and attended, an AWMC networking event, “Speedy Networking.” The event was held on campus in a second floor classroom in Old Main. About 12 or so professionals attended, and over 25 students. The way it was set up was there were three rows of tables with one professional at each table. In groups of 2’s, students would rotate from table to table every 3 minutes, giving the students 3 minutes with each professional. The professionals that attended ranged from recent Canisius graduates, to those who have decades of experience in a variety of different professions related to Communications, whether it be through sports broadcasting, PR, digital marketing, news media, blogging, human resources, etc. I really liked the set up of the event because it gave students the opportunity to talk to all the professionals, rather than the standard set up of a networking event where everyone is standing and expected to walk around and start conversations with different people. This kind of set up can be rather intimidating, especially for those who may have never attended a networking event before, and may not know how to go about starting conversations with professionals. The “speed dating” idea allowed for easy transitions into conversation, which in turn resulted in a much wider range in opinions, experience and advice. For those who were unsure of what questions to ask, there was also a bunch of start up questions and ideas on the board in front of us if we were stuck. I also thought it was extremely beneficial for everyone, both the professionals, and students in attendance, to introduce themselves a little prior to the start of the actual “Speed sessions.” This familiarized everyone a little bit with one another and brought awareness to the professional’s backgrounds, which made for more time for further discussion during the 3 minute slots because we already knew a little about their back ground. I took a lot from this event because this is one of the only networking events I’ve attended and one of the only times I’ve been exposed to so many different professionals in one setting where I was able to get different advice out of each and every one of them, whether it be those who are close in age to me and can easily relate to the position I’m in, or those who are far down the line and have years of substantial wisdom and experience to offer me. Some of the best advice I got was not to over-stress and freak out about not having things completely figured out yet, or at all figured out. Many of them were in the same place coming out of college senior year, and that’s completely normal and expected. The younger professionals stressed there are a lot more opportunities than we realize are available, and the older professionals were all sure to mention that they changed their career path several times and there are always new opportunities and experiences in reach as long as you’re willing to work hard and adjust to new work tasks that you may not be familiar with at all. All of them expressed the importance of networking and creating relationships with everyone you meet, as well as to fully utilize the experiences available to us in our internships and to push our advisers as much as possible for useful work experience. I think one of the best pieces of advice I heard is that it doesn’t matter what jobs you’ve had or classes you’ve taken, rather what matters is how you can utilize transferable skills from those jobs/classes and apply them to a new job environment and adapt quicker due to those acquired skills. Overall, I really enjoyed the speedy networking experience and think it was a huge success for AWMC!
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