How To Get The Most Out Of Your Networking Opportunities

Photo by Nathan Herring

Networking opportunities can be found in many different focus areas, concentrated on industry, region, and even race/national origin, gender, and age. Each of these focused networking events brings together similar types of individuals. This can be a good thing or a bad thing, depending on what you want to take away from the experience. I have had my fair share of networking experiences, mostly with negative results.

During my first networking event, I was a newly separated veteran, still trying to find my own way in the wide world. I remember going from group to group furtively attempting to break into the myriad circles of conversation that seem to have sprung fully formed straight from the hotel conference room’s dingy carpet. For someone who was already feeling like I was on the outside looking in, these attempts were not only daunting to attempt, but damaging to the self-esteem. I quickly became a wallflower and drank my open-bar generic beer at a little table in the corner before making my quiet getaway.

My second networking event was not much better. I had learned from the first that I needed to use some skills to break into those circles and assert myself just for the opportunity to get a word in. I practiced my elevator speech; that 30-second synopses designed to explain who you are and what you can provide to anyone, anywhere. I put on my big boy suit and a red silk tie. I broke my way into every conversation and took every card handed to me. I went back to my hotel room with more than 50 cards, each representing an elevator speech followed by an important conversation. Once I got back home from the event and forgot 90% of the faces behind those cards, I resolved for the future to make contextual notes on each card as soon as I received it.

Related: 5 Ways to be more effective at networking »

Shortly thereafter, at my next event, I implemented my note-taking strategy. Now I was cooking. I would meet people and have some conversation. When I had a moment to myself, I would scratch out highlights of the conversation as well as spitball a couple of things that I could do to help them. When I got back to the hotel room, I systematically wrote emails to everyone I had gotten a card from, making sure to note a particular point of our conversation. If warranted, I would make sure to also mention how I could add value or help them and highlight my skills.

These notes have proved very useful. I was able to connect with some interesting folks and got a few exciting writing and speaking opportunities. I also have quite a few friends now that started off as hastily scrawled notes on the back of a business card.

If nothing else, this practice will help you learn to think about how you can add value to others, which will usually benefit you as well.

The FBI is treating the recent shooting at Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida, as a terrorist attack, several media outlets reported on Sunday.

"We work with the presumption that this was an act of terrorism," USA Today quoted FBI Agent Rachel Rojas as saying at a news conference.

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"Kim Jong Un is too smart and has far too much to lose, everything actually, if he acts in a hostile way. He signed a strong Denuclearization Agreement with me in Singapore," Trump said on Twitter, referring to his first summit with Kim in Singapore in 2018.

"He does not want to void his special relationship with the President of the United States or interfere with the U.S. Presidential Election in November," he said.

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(U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Vaughan Dill/Released)

The three sailors whose lives were cut short by a gunman at Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida, on Friday "showed exceptional heroism and bravery in the face of evil," said base commander Navy Capt. Tim Kinsella.

Ensign Joshua Kaleb Watson, Airman Mohammed Sameh Haitham, and Airman Apprentice Cameron Scott Walters were killed in the shooting, the Navy has announced.

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The Pentagon has a credibility problem that is the result of the White House's scorched earth policy against any criticism. As a result, all statements from senior leaders are suspect.

We're beyond the point of defense officials being unable to say for certain whether a dog is a good boy or girl. Now we're at the point where the Pentagon has spent three days trying to knock down a Wall Street Journal story about possible deployments to the Middle East, and they've failed to persuade either the press or Congress.

The Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday that the United States was considering deploying up to 14,000 troops to the Middle East to thwart any potential Iranian attacks. The story made clear that President Trump could ultimately decide to send a smaller number of service members, but defense officials have become fixated on the number 14,000 as if it were the only option on the table.

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This article originally appeared on Business Insider.

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Speaking at the Reagan National Defense Forum in Simi Valley, California, on Saturday morning, Berger said the younger generation of troops had a "clearer view" of the technology "than most people give them credit for."

"That said, I'd give us a 'C-minus' or a 'D' in educating the force on the threat of even technology," Berger said. "Because they view it as two pieces of gear, 'I don't see what the big deal is.'"

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