Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Keep Calm and Network On

Greetings from Nashville and the 61st AAPL Annual Meeting.  Each year I travel to this meeting with one grand objective…networking.  This is a chance for me to practice what I preach in professional development class while chasing internships, $$ and awareness of the best land program in The Rockies.

I usually travel with industry friends that serve as my partners in crime and a networking crutch.  The easiest way to make new connections is to ride the coat tails of those that have established relationships in the industry.  When traveling with the well connected you gain immediate acceptance, provided that you are personable and look the part.  This year most of my industry friends were on travel lockdown requiring me to step up my networking game and really put myself out there.  From this year’s meeting I bring you some networking lessons learned:

Focus on quality, not quantity
Show genuine interest in the conversation. Go for quality of connections rather than the quantity of business cards you collect by the end of the night. Business cards aren't going to get you a job at the end of the day, but connections and strong relationships will. Write the event name on their business card, then follow up within 24 hours. 
Be likable
-Say nice things about other people, people unconsciously attribute the qualities of people you talk about to you as well.
-Be authentic, be vulnerable. Your personal story is a vehicle for connection. Stories are the best way to create a metaphor and allow other people to understand the type of thinker that you are.
-Be a good listener, it will draw people out.

Look Approachable
We’ve all seen people walking down a hall with their head down or sitting at a table engrossed with their phone. Body language speaks volumes, and they’re sending signals that they don’t want to be bothered. Instead, get interested in the people around you, a smile shows that you’re open to a conversation.

Move a conversation from chit-chat to meaningful with a few questions
-What do you do for fun?
-What are you most passionate about?
-What do you hope to take away from this event?
-What does your perfect new hire/business partner look like?
-What is the most important project or goal that you are working on?

Pushing out of my comfort zone enabled me to make some amazing new connections and grow as a professional.  I made new friends, opened doors and reinforced PLRM's place in the industry. Beyond all the career tangibles, I was inspired by my fellow conference attendees. Landmen are a diverse group, full of optimism and unwavering passion for their craft.  Opportunity is everywhere you just need to listen, ask smart questions and make yourself available. 

Keep calm and network on.

PS...I will be posting annual meeting education session materials later this month as they are available.