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Hello Leaders, I just returned from a,  “Leadership Retreat”, which was awesome.

Mary Angela Baker

,  Director of Continuing Education & the Leadership Institute at St. Catherine University hosted this retreat. Mary Angela invited Women Leaders from diverse backgrounds  in various fields of study. Today at the retreat I could tell she is known for making connections between people and organizations.

At the retreat I was in a room full of extraordinary business women, from the Twin Cities and Minnesota areas. This blog will be about the presenters but the participants I met where so interesting that I hope to do a future blog for each of them.

Cecilia Stanton

Cecilia Stanton–CEO of Stanton Adams Consulting, LLC, and my business partner–started the day with a question “whats your proudest creation?”  With a room full of accomplished women I expected to hear great accomplishments  but I was not ready for so long a list. The story that stands out the most is the retired woman, whose said one of her proudest moments was breaking through the glass ceiling at the FBI, I wonder if anyone heard my jaw drop.

We heard a great presentation from Mia Mulrennan Psy.D  Sr. Consultant, and Executive Coach at MDA titled “Navigating Team Leadership”.  With most of the American workforce making the shift from independent work to team work this topic was right on time.  Dr. Mulrennan helped me and the other participants understand exactly what goes into developing a High Performance Team. Look for a future blog on the topic.

Right before lunch Susan Schuster presented “Innovation” which is not only a popular topic but a great class.  Susan did a great experiential exercise that showed us how–if we really want to–we can find things in common.  When I started the exercise I was a bit reluctant, thinking to myself “what could I have in common with all of these women”  The eye opener was that it wasn’t that hard to find “a few” things in common with a few if not many of other participants.

Chris Heeter

The final presenter was Chris Heeter of The Wild Institute.  Chris’ theory is that we all need to get a little “Wild” at work and although it sounds drastic, I really liked the concept.  The idea is you write the word WILD on a piece of paper and under it you write all of the feelings associated with the word.

WILD=Fun, Happy, etc…

Then you write the opposite of each word on a separate sheet of paper

NOT WILD=Boring, Sad, etc…

Then decide which words you would like people to use when describing their place of work or better yet when they describe your company.  After hearing Chris speak it becomes pretty obvious that we need to get “WILD” in the workplace, at home and simply put in our personal  lives.

Although all the speaker where great, I think the best thing about the day was the opportunity to meet and Network with some really interesting business women from the Minnesota Area.

NETWORKING: is best done with strangers who don’t have preconceptions, and it is not to collect business cards, but rather to build one or two key relationships that can turn into business opportunities.

To be successful in the New Millennium leaders will need a great many skills. No matter how badly we want to, we can not wear every hat at the same time, otherwise we would become  “The Mad Hatter“.

Being able to Network with others, inside and outside of your: industry, organization, and field, takes whatever your doing to the next level exponentially.

Someone who has a knack for networking is Mary Angela Baker (whom I mentioned early in this post) she ended the retreat by explaining how she is driven by her mission of creating an informal network of Women Leaders who gather and strengthen their numbers and diverse resources by calling upon their combined talents.

So whats they key  to success when it comes to networking?
The answer is:
1. Be authentic
2. Know what your gonna say but don’t sound rehearsed
3. Try to make genuine connections not small talk
4. Don’t try to sound more interesting than you really are (Don’t Lie)
5. Let others have a chance to talk
6. Make a clean break before you find yourself standing in a circle of silence
7. Relax and have fun
Follow these rules and you will be well on your way to filling up your rolodex or should I say your Linkedin connections. If you have any suggestion on do’s and don’ts when it comes to networking leave us a comment.
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