Networking is not just for Executives…
If you are in IAAP.. the first place to network is IAAP meetings.. not just your chapter.. go to other chapter functions.. even attending the International Meeting OR- writing on the message boards.. all of this counts.
Many of you already know this information and have great skills and verve. Me? Well, I’m a born schmoozer. It’s in my blood.
Seriously though, let’s take a look at how staff in administrative support positions can network better.
Here are some suggestions.
1. Sales calls. If you have time, at least trade cards even if you are not interested in making a purchase. Instead, use this opportunity to introduce the sales rep to IAAP and the benefits of what an associate membership could do for them or their company.
2. Board Meetings: This is key! Be certain if you are setting up or helping to coordinate board meetings for your company or for a group that you volunteer for- say your college, get business cards and.. THEN get the contact info on their administrative support staff.
3. Get to know your Associate members in your chapter. Learn about their business. Send business their way. Be certain that they have YOUR contact information.
Here are some contacts that I have made an effort to distribute my card to– or even email just to establish some business relationship:
-Local Temporary Firms.. all of them.. but always respect that the associate members of your chapter/Division are first and foremost.
– Local business and trade magazines.
– Local sports teams- from the Professionals to the Minor Leaguers.. it doesn’t matter… Call the main number, and ask for the assistant to the President. Go from there.
– Local restaurants- the one you are always calling in reservations for your boss. Stop by and drop off your card to the manager– NOT during lunch of course.. Take a minute to discuss IAAP. How many members your chapter has…etc. They are always on the lookout for more catering/ event or regular business. Introducing yourself can rsometimes help out the next time they are overbooked.
4. Attend social functions! Of course, you can squeeze at least ONE of these into your year. By social function, I’m not talking your sister’s baby shower.. although that’s not a bad networking opportunity either. I mean, check out a group you’d like to volunteer for or have an interest in. Do they host a gala? Or, a fundraiser? Ever consider offering administrative support on your off time… just for day or two? Longaberger parties, Tupperware.. bring your business card to all of them. These connections matter.
Lastly, I have a favorite I want to share.
Every year, I take something to my daughter’s school for the admin staff on Administrative Professionals Day. I wear my IAAP Pins on my suit and I make a point of acknowledging them on APW day when their school principal is in view…if I can. I email each one of them and thank them from one admin to another. Believe me, coming from a peer.. it means more than you or I realize.
Please! What tips do you have for networking? If you send them.. I will post! I promise…. .
On a personal note: Ladies and folks who have ladies in their life that they care about deeply.. Please schedule a mammogram or encourage them to schedule one…
This year alone, I have three friends and two peers that have been diagnosed with Breast Cancer. It may be uncomfortable for a few minutes.. but it can be life saving. Thanks. kf.