When I received the invitation to speak at LaTrobe University as part of the Student Leadership Conference on the topic of Business Etiquette and Effective Networking I was a little surprised, did they really want me to talk to these topics?
I was ambitious, without any real credentials and eager to prove that I could and would succeed.
After all, if I didn’t secure work for my emerging businesses, I didn’t eat. Ones survival instincts soon kick in and make for a powerful motivator during difficult and challenging times.
Whilst I could easily identify when the value of a network became apparent to me, identifying when etiquette was understood was more elusive, was it because etiquette had always been so embedded in the way I went about my business and/or perhaps the unconscious influence of my earlier years.
I found that to bring the value and critical importance of the subjects to life for the audience, I had to be true to my own experiences which meant talking about some confronting truths about my school years and my early career.
Speaking at the conference was a pleasure, a great group of people who embraced the concepts of networking, demonstrating the initiative and drive that one needs to be successful in what has become an ultra competitive world, a world where qualifications alone will not secure success.
Business Etiquette and Networking are indeed key pillars to a successful professional career, my top 10 lessons covered during the presentation included:
- Education and experience may get you the interview, however, etiquette and first impressions will get you the job
- Learn to think on your feet and adapt to circumstances as they change
- Pay attention to those around you; learn from those that do it well
- Educate yourself on other people’s customs and practices; be culturally aware especially before engaging with them
- Don’t mix your social and business networks, especially online
- Be enthusiastic
- Be real, genuine interest is never contrived
- Maximise your networking opportunities
- Follow up
- Keep track via a system such as Linkedin to assist in bringing your network to life
Following the presentation I received emails from some of the audience with feedback being humbling with words like “inspirational”, “your honest reflections have inspired me”, “a tear was shed today in thanks for a touching and amazing talk”.
Latrobe’s 2013 Student Leadership Conference was held on Thursday 7 February and Friday, February 8, 2013 titled “The Resilient Leader” where speakers who have overcome major challenges in life spoke about how they were able to overcome the difficulties, including keynote speaker Madeleine West who had a successful career as an actress on the television show Neighbors before she was hit by a bus in Sydney in 2002 which left her with brain injuries.
Other speakers included; US Consul General Mary Warlick, Linh Do, Jarrod Benson, Denise Egan, Joanna Shaw, Olivia Laskowski, Dr Adam Becker, Patricia Testa, Susan Shultz and Latrobe’s Deputy Vice Chancellor Professor Jane Long, Professor Alberto Gomes and Pro Vice Chancellor Dr Kerry Ferguson.
Participant feedback from the presentation provided by Latrobe University: “Excellent speaker. Good information and a very genuine person”, “I found that the Networking and Etiquette was very interesting” and “Business Etiquette and Networking – AMAZING”