Here’s the typical networking scenario: a crowded room, lots of conversations taken place, some people thoroughly enjoying themselves, while others look like they attended only to avoid a trip to the dentist. Have you ever been in this situation? If you are lucky, you’ll make connections with a few people during the course of the evening and new relationships will blossom. But more often than not, throwing a bunch of people together in a hot, cramped bar, meeting room, or any other space without any way of facilitating meaningful interactions is at best, a game of chance, and at worst, a big waste of time.
Fortunately, Arthur Lerner has devised an antidote to this common problem. He has designed an approach called Networking Forward, which teaches people how to give and receive while networking, and build the networks and relationships that will pay it forward for everyone involved. His approach is based on the intersection of group theory, large scale change, and interpersonal dynamics. Essentially, it is an organizational development approach to networking.
I have had the privilege of peering inside Arthur’s mind as he constructs this concept. He will be leading a Networking Forward session at the Organization Development Network Conference in New Orleans this Sunday, October 17. During this session, participants will have an opportunity to reflect on what gifts they have to offer to others, as well as what they hope to receive. They will be able to find others at the event who are potential matches to their interests, and introduce themselves to start the conversations rolling. The event is being held as a kick-off to a four-day conference. It will help people forge connections and relationships for both the short-term – getting the most out of the conference experience – and the long-term – sowing the seeds for longer term professional relationships to develop long after the conference has ended.
Check out Arthur on LinkedIn if you are interested in learning more about Networking Forward. You’ll be glad you did!