I got a piece of mail the other day that deserved special attention. It was an invitation to my ____th. college reunion. I liked my college experience. I’m sure it had nothing to do with the fact that the male:female ratio was 11:1. That was just an added benefit. But what did I really remember most about that time?
- My first independence and the realization that my own drive for success made things happen,
- The beginning of my journey of learning. These skills would serve as the foundation for all my additional life long experiences.
- The music – still remains some of my favorite, and, most importantly,
- The relationships I made throughout those years.
As I hold the invitation in my hand I think about the people I can see if I go back. A few of my strong and lasting friendships began in college. I’ve kept in touch through email, and we’ve occasionally found ways to help each other over the years. I landed my 1st corporate contract in 1993 thanks to the faith and perseverance of a college friend who became a training manager at Mobil Chemical. Those contacts will last.
I’m glad that my experiences in networking led me to focus on relationships this year. Think about the people in your life who have helped you get to where you are today, or have just “been there” when you’ve needed them. Pick someone out and send a note telling him or her how much you appreciate them being in your life. I guarantee it will brighten their day. Wouldn’t it brighten yours?
Professional development conferences in your industry are a great opportunity for you to network and build new skills. Even if you haven’t attended one for a while, reconsider this year. The sessions may look great, and even if you attend them all, look at this as a chance to reconnect with some of your professional friends. I can’t imagine my life without the people I’ve met, and grown close to, in the Colorado Speakers Association over the past 8 years. The networking is so valuable at conferences and conventions. I’ve attended the National Speakers Association conventions and workshops since 1993. After my 7th one, many of the educational sessions began to look alike. Having just returned from a workshop in San Francisco, I was asked by someone, “what was the best part?” I’m sure they were referring to the classes. I reflected for all of about 2 seconds before responding, “Touring San Francisco with good friends.”
Don’t ever underestimate the power of your business and personal relationships. Nancy Vogl, owner of Universal Speakers Bureau ways that she won’t represent someone she hasn’t built a relationship with. Great advice.
For the rest of this year, focus not only on your technical skills, but on your people skills. Check to see what your company’s human resources department offers for management and leadership training. Most of these programs offer classes that help you learn how to make the most of the relationships you have with other people. Have fun!