Networking with Purpose Recap

The evening monthly event began with a superb mood, with little circles appearing everywhere and vibrant discussions taking place in each of them. The networking session was followed by the MC introducing AWiB’s February activities, acknowledging AWiB’s 2023 partners, and introducing the sponsors, Ethio Jobs, the leading job board in Ethiopia and the first e-recruitment tool introduced to the Ethiopian job market that empowers communities to find employment confidently.

The program, Networking with Purpose, we all had been anticipating, got underway when the speakers were welcomed to the stage.

Hanna, the first speaker, started her speech by explaining the quote by Dr. Ivan Misner, “Networking is more about ‘farming’ than it is about ‘hunting.’ It’s about cultivating relationships.”  Networking from a farming perspective is a gradual process of developing and cultivating relationships. She underlined that asking why we are networking will help us be more resolute in our approaches. She advised that knowing the audience ahead of time will aid in having a seamless conversation and engaging from their point of interest. Hanna discussed the benefits of networking, such as getting extra information and meeting people of different career levels. She discussed her experience at Ethiopian Airlines, where she grew professionally by networking with her HR on critical concerns she witnessed in her workplace. Hanna defines networking as the capacity to sell oneself in a few minutes by talking about our experiences and the good influence we have.

Mekdela, the next speaker, began by instructing everyone to take out their phones and check the networks in the contacts and how frequently we check them. He suggested that in order to keep our relationship, we need to send a thank you note to one of an influential network. He described the three types of networks: takers, matchers, and givers. He expanded on Hanna’s notion of farming rather than hunting by establishing a smoother environment during networking. Mekdela discussed how to develop good relationships in an age of technology. Being a content source was his way of staying relevant in the digital age.

He underlined the importance of leaving a lasting impression rather than just a business card.   For successful networking, Mekdela recommended the audience retain a healthy sense of humor, be approachable by maintaining healthy eye contact, and avoid sensitive conversations/issues. One method of networking that was briefly explored was the elevator pitch.

He highlighted that we should humanize our pitch and go beyond what is on our resume. Mekdela concluded the evening by recommending five books for networking. His recommendations include Never Eat Alone, Give & Take by Adam Grant, How to Win Friends & Influence People, Quiet, and Little Beds.

The night was concluded with a group activity on practicing their elevator pitch. This important and useful program that is designed to support the AWiB 2023 theme “Honing Your Leadership Skills” came to an end with a reflection and question & answer session.

Networking is important because we are the average of the 6 people around us. The session on networking with purpose was really insightful.

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