Network like a boss at the National Opportunity Summit•
By Sarah Beaulieu, Melanie Anderson and Cara Willis
The National Opportunity Summit is less than two weeks away, and we are starting to feel the excitement! It’s a truly humbling experience to see so many amazing leaders from across the country converge to share solutions that will connect young adults to thriving education and career pathways.
In preparation for the big day on Feb. 26, we thought we would share our best tips for making the most of your time in Washington, DC. Between the three of us, we’ve attended hundreds of large and small events and conferences. Take it from us, the Summit – with its inspiring energy and diverse mix of attendees – is truly in its own unique category.
We want all of you to be able to network like a boss at the Summit later this month, so we compiled our best tidbits of advice:
Plan ahead. Are there people going whom you especially want to meet? Check out our Twitter lists of speakers and attendees. Who aligns with your work? Reach out in advance and set up a time to meet. Why wait until February 26th when you can make a connection today?
Start a conversation. Don’t be afraid to introduce yourself to people. Every single person in the room is there for a reason, and has something important to share and contribute. Balance your time between new connections and old friends. We’ll give you lots of creative ways to start a meaningful dialogue with people you meet. From asking people about their #OpportunityMoment or State Index Score, to finding out which part of our Call to Action – which will be released at the Summit – aligns with their work, we can all take the conversation beyond “Hello my name is…” and right into “Hey friend, what can we do together?” We’re even going to seat you at lunch with people we think you should know!
Pack the right bag. Comfortable shoes. An outfit to impress – rock that business attire. Your cell phone with extra battery and charger (one to share will make you a hero). Business cards. A pack of pens. Breath mints and gum for the people at your table. A bottle of water. Some snacks. Safety pins. Hand sanitizer, because some things are just not meant to be shared. Think like MacGyver – you never know when you might have the chance to save the day – and make a friend for life.
Follow Up. With 1,000 expected attendees, you might miss your chance to say hello to that new partner or ally you have your eye on. Not to worry, you haven’t missed your chance. Send a quick and personal follow up note. If the person spoke, reference something they said. The Summit is just one moment in our collective journey together.
We are working around the clock, even while the Boston office is buried under six feet of snow, to ensure that the National Opportunity Summit is a day to remember – and one whose momentum lasts long after the event ends. We can’t wait for you to join us – in the room and on social media #OppSummit – for a conversation that will shape our shared work for the weeks and months to come.