[11.07.11]
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Start Focusing On New, Creative Networking Ideas

southwest conference, creative networks, thom singer, networking ideas, jobs seeker, job board, new jobs, ones, start, ideas, focusing, remember, jobs etworks, thom singer, networking ideas, jobs seeker, job bToday’s post was written to support Job Action Day – a great initiative started by the folks at QuintCareers.com, one of the largest job search support sites online.  “Job Action Day is a day for all job-seekers and workers to take stock of their situations and make plans and/or take action steps to improve their careers.”  Here’s my post:

This year I attended my first South By Southwest Conference (SXSW) in Austin, TX.  What started as a music conference now includes film and interactive (social media). It’s a big conference with tons of great speakers, panels and other events to get you thinking down new paths.

And so I went looking for those new paths. Aided (and hosted) by my good friend and networking guru Thom Singer, I went out looking for great networking ideas.  Especially after years networking in the job, small business and nonprofit market, I wanted to see how others did it successfully.

And one idea caught my eye.

An especially great idea for people who spend too much time at home on job boards or have trouble talking with strangers.

Of course, like many ideas, you have to be careful that you don’t execute it without care.  But sometimes you need to try a few new things to get unstuck.

Here’s what one person did at SXSW:

He brought a volleyball.  And a Sharpie.

And proceeded to walk around the entire event with the volleyball and the pen getting people to sign the ball.

It was brilliant.  And he met just about everyone at the event.

Why did it work?

  • It was fun – everyone loved the idea of signing the volleyball.
  • It had you anticipating your turn – out of the corner of their eye, most everyone knew when the ball was getting close.
  • It got people talking – “Hey, did you sign the volleyball yet?”
  • It was unique – And it nicely broke up the traditional (sometimes dull) conversation.
  • It was memorable – imagine getting the follow-up email the next day saying “I was the one with the volleyball”.

Of course it could have failed.  But it didn’t.

So what’s a version of “the volleyball” that would work for you?

  1. Start an industry-based target company list -   Invite others in your industry to add to the target company list that you started as you walk around the event.  Not as much fun, but maybe more practical.
  2. Interview fellow job seekers for a blog post – This could be video or audio, but find a topic that is fun and easy for people to contribute with confidence (e.g. worst interview question you’ve ever heard).
  3. Bring a custom find-a-word puzzle – Say you are trying to meet 20 people who can help you find each of the 20 words.  Because it is a custom puzzle, you can load the puzzle with your target companies or key strengths.  And have more productive conversations.
  4. Enter everyone you meet into a drawing for a Starbucks gift card at the end of the event.  If they give you a lead to your target company, offer them two entries to the drawing.

What do you think?  Are any of these ideas right for you?

If they fit your personality, why not give one a try?  You might find that people are a little less tight and conservative than you think.  And that they might relish the chance to relax and have a bit of fun.

Now it’s your turn – what fun ways can you think of?

Tim Tyrell-Smith is the creator of Tim’s Strategy. As a blogger, Tim has been a regular contributor to U.S. News and World Report, interviewed twice on NPR and is the author of two career books (“30 Ideas” and “HeadStrong”). Become a fan at http://facebook.com/TimsStrategy and follow on Twitter (@TimsStrategy). He lives with his wife and three kids in Mission Viejo, California.

Tim Tyrell-Smith – who has written posts on Tim's Strategy®.



Written by: Tim Tyrell-Smith
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