James Eder is a One Young World Ambassador. After attending the Johannesburg Summit in 2014, he made it his goal to launch FriendlyFriday, a movement to get people conversing that has become a non-profit organisation that provides grants and investment for young people.
One of the things that makes the Summit so special is the unique experience of bringing together young people from all corners of the earth. However one of the biggest challenges for delegates and Ambassadors alike is maximising the benefits of this opportunity and meeting as many people as possible. The greater the number of connections made and fostered, the greater the impact of One Young World. The Summit is meant to inspire us all before we go back out into the world again and take action; which is what One Young World and its Ambassadors are all about.
After day one of the Summit I am sure you will have already interacted with so many inspiring people. Here are some tips to help you keep the momentum going and make the most of the networking opportunities available for the rest of your time in Dublin.
1. Get there early. Be the first delegate to meet people on arrival and every morning of the Summit. Clearly you can’t all be the first; but it is these moments at the beginning of the sessions when you can make the connections that are otherwise missed.
2. Split up from your company, country or group. You can catch up with them when you are back home. By staying with your group you sometimes make it harder for other people to connect with you - so spread your wings!
3. Sit in a different place or on a different table every time. This turns every session into another opportunity.
4. Don’t be afraid to just say hello to everyone.
5. Ask open questions, e.g. where are you from? What did you think of the last session?
6. “Net-giving”. Instead of thinking about networking and what you can get out of it, think about what you can give. Where can you add value? How can you help people? Think about the other person, what can you do to help them? Can you connect them with someone else?
Joining conversations when there is more than one person can sometimes be hard; here is some advice to help you do just that:
7. Use approachable language to engage in the conversation of choice. A simple “do you mind if I join you?” works well! (I know it sounds easy – but sometimes it’s easier said than done!)
8. Walk up to a group and listen to the conversation for a bit, and then make a contribution when it's appropriate.
9. Act like a host; if you see someone in the group without a drink, offer to get them one. It helps you to join in the conversation when you get back too.
10. If you’re in the group already, make it easier for other people to join and be aware of others who look interested. Without realising it, people can be excluded very easily.
11. From an outsider’s perspective, you may often think that everyone already knows each other. Don’t assume – there’s no harm in making introductions again!
You have been speaking with the same person for a while, but you want to branch out more with the limited time you have left; the next few tips are to you help you move around more easily:
12. Fill your glass half full so you can excuse yourself quickly and regularly get more drink if need be! This works well for your plate too.
13. In the conversation, just ask “have you seen ‘x’ person? I’ve been looking for them.” And excuse yourself to find them.
14. Honesty is the best policy and politeness goes a long way - “please excuse me, I want to introduce myself to ‘x’, perhaps I will see you later on”.
And just a final three tips…
15. Take notes while conversing if it is a topic of interest, or write an action on his or her business card. This will help when you follow up afterwards.
16. Tweet to engage people and participate in the conversation using #OYW and @OneYoungWorld and follow and connect with other people.
17. Put a @FriendlyFriday badge on your lanyard and be open to hello’s.
But most of all, enjoy yourself.
The initiative FriendlyFriday has launched a special pack for each delegate at this year’s One Young World Summit in Dublin. Put one of the badges on your lanyard and share the other three when you get home. See www.friendlyfriday.org for more information and follow them on twitter @FriendlyFriday #sayhello or email: [email protected]. Feel free to connect with James on Linkedin: www.uk.linkedin.com/in/jameseder/.