Yesterday my team hosted a student networking event featuring a diverse range of industry guest speakers. The main purpose of the BizTech Meetup: Connect for Success! event was to provide students with an opportunity to better understand the importance of building connections in order to develop and grow their future careers in New Zealand. The event was positively received by students and it felt so satisfying to see them beaming with energy and enthusiasm when given the opportunity to meet new people for the first time. You can read more about the event here.
It also dawned on me today that the event also fell on World Kindness Day (13 November). According to the Awareness Days website:
World Kindness Day was first launched in 1998 by The World Kindness Movement, an organisation formed at a 1997 Tokyo conference of like-minded kindness organisations from around the world. There are currently over 28 nations involved in The World Kindness Movement which is not affiliated with any religion or political movement. The mission of the World Kindness Movement and World Kindness Day is to create a kinder world by inspiring individuals and nations towards greater kindness.
I reflected on how networking and connecting with others, is centred on principles of kindness and generosity. ‘Networking’ may seem formal as a term, but it essentially relates to building a relationship with another human being. If my experiences are anything to go by we connect more easily when we approach others in a friendly, open and kind manner. I mean, when was the last time you freely chose to speak to a stranger who appeared grumpy or sour faced??
Effective connections are formed through a shared generosity of spirit, where both parties show a willingness to engage and a desire to acknowledge each other. At conferences, meetings and events, I can quickly pick-up if someone is not really listening to me or if they are distracted or uninterested (look out for shifty gazes and closed body language).
By being kind, we can also make the other person feel comfortable and connected in that particular moment. Networking can be an unnatural or nerve-wracking experience for some, so being able to convey warmth can alleviate some of their discomforts.
To all of those people at the BizTech event who approached their connections with kindness and with a spirit of generosity – I SALUTE YOU!