Making the Most of Networking

by Lauren Dixon

While “networking” means different things to different people, I have found that the most valuable part of meeting and socializing at events is the wisdom you gain from others.  Many ideas that I have later implemented in my company have been inspired by networking.

At a recent workplace conference in Denver, I heard from executives at companies across the U.S. about steps they have taken to create vibrant, dynamic cultures for their companies.  I shared my perspective on what has worked for me at Dixon Schwabl– implementing ideas within 48 hours, and taking a day off to volunteer at a not-for-profit selected by the employee (Make It Happen Day).  I listened to other executives as they shared their ideas.

No matter the industry or headcount, any company can develop an idea to further their employees and workplaces, and networking is a great way to share these ideas.  Years ago at a networking event, a CEO mentioned a workplace benefit–giving employees their birthday off.  When I returned to the office, I immediately instituted this benefit for my employees.  For several years now, employees have enjoyed taking their Birthday Off and enjoying their special day.  Other employees cover their workload so the employee can enjoy the day off without worry.

It is important to select networking events based on what you hope to learn– if you are looking for a job, try to attend events where similarly-minded companies and professionals might go.  If you are looking to improve your workplace or generate new ideas, networking at conferences and professional forums might work best.

Readers – what are your thoughts on this topic?  We’d love to hear your feedback or any networking advice you might have!

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