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Attending Networking Events is a Career Investment

Attending Networking Events is a Career Investment

    As a Lifehacker, you must be attuned to the changing trends in the workplace. The uncertainties in the U.S economy put into question the idea of a “stable job”. You might be also more keen on pursuing portfolio careers or perhaps setting up a business in lieu of the traditional climb-the-corporate-ladder career path.

    The only way for you to cope with a changing workplace is for you to leave your desk and meet people who can help you attain whatever you want from your career – with or without the threat of recession.

    So, the best career investment that you can do now is to go to networking events. This will give you a chance to meet corporate executives and entrepreneurs who can give you job leads, serve as your mentors and/or become your business partners.

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    1. Be selective

    Some events are worth it, some are just useless, you need to choose the networking event which is aligned with your goal. Choose an event where you can find the experts in your field and/or where you have a higher chance of meeting your potential employers.

    Do your research first – surf the net for information about the event and ask your friends and colleagues for feedback on the networking events they have went to themselves.

    2. Have clear, well-defined goals

    List down what you want to get out of this networking event and then make your own schedule that will meet your goals.

    For instance, Rossana Llenado, founder of online tutorial company Ahead Interactive (AI), invests on attending networking events as this helps her in building her business. So despite her initial concerns on cost and spending time away from her four kids in Manila, Llenado left for California to attend the four-day convention of the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC) in San Diego.

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    Llenado went to IABC conference and participated in the workshops and met up with business contacts in the U.S.. This is in line with her goal to put AI as one the world’s premier provider of online tutorial services. She came home, with a lot of ideas on how to expand AI’s reach and is now busy fine tuning her operations.

    3. Build relationships

    Instead of indiscriminately handing out and collecting business cards, use networking events to meet and establish long-term relationships with potential employers or business partners. Networking organizers advise that you focus on making “meaningful connections” with few people – those who have the right vibe and you’re comfortable working with.

    You also need to avoid being too aggressive, asking questions like “so do you have any job openings?” or “are you interested to buy my products?”

    This will turn off a lot of people – hard selling won’t sell here. Just be cool and discuss with them your common interests and goal. Exchange business cards and keep those contacts “warm” by sending e-mails or inviting them for coffee where you can discuss your proposal.

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    4. Pay it forward

    Go to the networking events with the mindset that you will bring value to the table – and not to pass around your resume and sell your products.

    Yes you can find job leads in networking events – but not on one go. You need to establish trust and confidence among the people that you meet in these events. When approaching someone, you need to consider how your skills and interests can help in solving his/her business problem.

    5. Treat networking as a career investment

    Going to these events is not cheap. You need to invest both time and money, and the cost gets higher if the event is being held overseas.

    You need to discern the difference between value and cost. If the $1,000 you spend going to networking events will bring you triple that amount either in terms of business revenues or career promotion, then the event will have paid for itself.

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    That said, if you’re broke or had to get a second mortgage just to attend the event then you better skip it, and save for it so you can go there in the future. Besides, a high price tag will not necessarily mean that is of high value – to you. Many people spend money to attend the World Economic Forum in Davos. It is a high value event for many people, but do you think going to Davos will help you attain your specific career goals?

    Whatever career path you want to pursue, everything in the end will boil down to having solid relationships with present and future colleagues and partners. While social networking sites may have helped in expanding your work and social circles, meeting people face to face will build trust and confidence that will pave the way to better opportunities.

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    Last Updated on November 3, 2020

    How to Mind Map to Visualize Ideas (With Mind Map Examples)

    How to Mind Map to Visualize Ideas (With Mind Map Examples)

    When you have a lot of ideas in your mind, you may create a text document, or take a sheet of paper and start writing in a linear fashion. However, this type of document quickly becomes overwhelming. It lacks in clarity and makes it hard for you to get a full picture at a glance and see what is missing. Instead, try looking at some mind map examples to learn how to mind map and visualize your thoughts.

    Mind maps can help you zoom out and see the whole hierarchy and how everything is connected. You may see connections you were missing before and find new ways of brainstorming solutions.

    Below, you’ll find more information on mind maps and see some mind map examples to inspire you next time you need to organize information.

    What Is a Mind Map?

    A mind map is a simple hierarchical radial diagram invented by Tony Buzan[1]. In other words, you organize your thoughts around a central idea. This technique is especially useful whenever you need to declutter your brain or develop an idea, a project (for example, a new product or service), a problem, a solution, etc. By capturing what you have in your head, you make space for other thoughts.

    In this article, we are focusing on the basics: mind mapping using a pen and paper.

    The objective of a mind map is to clearly visualize all your thoughts and ideas. Don’t complicate a mind map with too many colors or distractions. Use different colors only when they serve a purpose. Always keep a mind map simple and easy to follow.

    How to mind map: Mind map example

      Image Credit: English Central

      By following the three next steps below, you will be able to create such mind maps easily and quickly.

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      3 Simple Steps to Create a Mind Map

      The three steps are:

      1. Set a central topic
      2. Add branches of related ideas
      3. Add sub-branches for more relevant ideas

      Let’s take a look at an example Verbal To Visual illustrates on the benefits of mind mapping.[2]

      Step 1 : Set a Central Topic

      Take a blank sheet of paper, write down the topic you’ve been thinking about: a problem, a decision to make, an idea to develop, or a project to clarify.

      Word it in a clear and concise manner. It can be a single word or even a central image.

      How to mind map: start with a central idea

        Step 2 : Add Branches of Related Ideas

        What is the first idea that comes to mind when you think of the subject for your mind map? Draw a line (straight or curved) from the central topic, and write down that idea.

          Step 3 : Add Sub-Branches for More Relevant Ideas

          Then, what does that idea make you think of? What is related to it? List it out nearby by connecting it with shorter lines or a line of a different color. Ensure that it remains organized.

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            You can always add images or other branches later, but that’s good for now.

            In our example, we could detail the sub-branch “Benefits” by listing those benefits in sub-branches of the branch “Benefits.” Unfortunately, we already reached the side of the sheet, so we’re out of space to do so. You could always draw a line to a white space on the page and list them there, but it’s awkward.

            Since we created this mind map on a regular letter-format sheet of paper, the quantity of information that fits in there is very limited. That is one of the main reasons why I recommend that you use software rather than pen and paper for most of the mind mapping that you do.

            Repeat Step 2 and Step 3

            Repeat steps 2 and 3 as many times as you need to flush out all of your ideas around the topic that you chose.

            Mind map example

              I added first-level (main) branches around the central topic mostly in a clockwise fashion, from top-right to top-left. That is how, by convention, a mind map is read.

              In the next section, we are covering the three strategies to building your maps.  

              Mind Map Examples to Illustrate Mind Mapping

              You can go about creating a mind map in various ways:

              • Branch by Branch: Adding whole branches (with all of their sub-branches), one by one.
              • Level by Level: Adding elements to the map, one level at a time. That means that firstly, you add elements around the central topic (main branches). Then, you add sub-branches to those main branches.
              • Free-Flow: Adding elements to your mind map as they come to you, in no particular order.

              Branch by Branch

              Start with the central topic, and add a first branch. Focus on that branch and detail it as much as you can by adding all the sub-branches that you can think of.

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                Then develop ideas branch by branch.

                  One your ideas have filled the branches, the mind map is complete.

                  Branch by branch mind map example

                    Level by Level

                    In this “Level by Level” strategy of mind map examples, you first add all the elements that you can think of around the central topic, one level deep only. Here, you add elements on level 1:

                      Then, go over each branch and add the immediate sub-branches (one level only). This is level 2:

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                        Do the same for the next level (level 3). You can have as many levels as you want in a mind map. In our example, we only have 3 levels. Now the map is complete:

                        Level by level mind map example

                          Free-Flow

                          Basically, a free flow strategy of mind mapping is to add main branches and sub-topics freely. There are no rules to restrict how ideas should flow in the mind map. The only thing to pay attention to is that you need to be careful about the level of the ideas you’re adding to the mind map — is it a main topic, or is it a subtopic?

                          Free flow mind map example

                            Try each strategy and combinations of strategies, and see what works best for you to help you start problem solving.

                            The Bottom Line

                            When you’re feeling stuck or when you’re just starting to think about a particular idea or project, take out a paper and start to brain dump your ideas and create a mind map using the mind map examples above. Mind mapping has the magic to clear your head and organize your thoughts.

                            If you can’t always have access to a paper and pen, don’t worry! Creating a mind map with software is very effective, and you get none of the drawbacks of pen and paper. You can also apply the above steps and strategies just the same when using a mind mapping tool on a phone and computer.

                            More Tools to Help You Organize Thoughts

                            Featured photo credit: Alvaro Reyes via unsplash.com

                            Reference

                            [1] Tony Buzan Group: Home
                            [2] Verbal to Visual: A Mind Mapping Approach To Your Sketchnotes

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