Like nearly all other in person industry events, the organizers of the New England Supply Chain Conference and Exposition (NESCON) were faced with a challenge this year. An inability to hold large, in person gatherings would force the event online, but also present an opportunity to reimagine topics and delivery for a post-COVID world.
I had a unique opportunity yesterday to serve as the Q&A facilitator for ISM-New York’s annual meeting. What is so unique about that? I did it from Central Massachusetts! Through the magic of Google Hangouts (and with a little help from an eight hour phone call) I saw, heard, and interacted with the speakers and attendees in a meeting room overlooking Times Square.
Kudos to ISM-New York President Nancy Murray, Executive Director Julienne Ryan, and former Vice President Jim Martin for their adventurous, virtual approach to collaboration and networking.
This week is ridiculously busy – there are 15 webinars taking place: five on Tuesday, one on Wednesday, and NINE on Thursday. Given the wide range of choices, it wasn’t easy to pick the best ones, but my recommendations are below. Click on the title of each event below to view the full description in our events calendar and to connect to their registration pages.
Earlier in my career I was quite shy and not comfortable networking at various conferences and seminars. Everyone else seemed to be talking to someone and having a good time I did not know where to begin. It is still not like breathing but it is a bit easier. I learned to ask questions about their jobs, families and vacations. It was interesting to hear their stories and learn a few things along the way.
Networking seems forced, self-serving and artificial to me. Instead I approach these opportunities more along the line of meeting others in my industry. This week we chose the Strategic Sourceror, Why YOU should be networking. It outlines 3 reasons to network:
- Open communication – share ideas and get feedback as well as hear other ideas
- Best Practices – learn what and how others are doing the same thing you are
- Opportunities - for new business leads or a new career opportunity
Another article by Amazing Business, Top 9 reasons of Business Networking, has additional benefits worth reviewing.
- Advice – being around like-minded people is a good arena to gather advice for your business.
- Increase confidence – like anything else, you get better with practice. I certainly did as each time I came out of the comfort zone to meet more people.
- Satisfaction from helping others – Everyone has problems and issues. Perhaps you have something to offer that can help them.
What have you done about networking within your procurement profession? Did it seem difficult and first and get easier as you went along?
Share your thoughts by commenting below or tweeting us @BuyersMeetPoint.
This week’s webinar notes are from a March 9th webinar hosted by IACCM and presented by IACCM Resourcing CEO Susanne Birch. Before I share any of my notes from the event, I have a confession to make. It may not seem related, but bear with me.
I despise pink rollerblades.
One or two days a month I have a day that has 9 meetings. Seriously? How am I supposed to be productive on a day like that? Or even if it is just a few meetings a day, when do we get to do REAL work?
In order to help procurement better position ourselves and communicate through all of the channels available to us, Buyers Meeting Point reached out to a colleague with a background in marketing and experience in the procurement space. Sheryl Johnson is the founder of BD-PRo Marketing Solutions and focuses on implementing creative marketing and business networking strategies for small and medium sized businesses, as well as a professor of marketing at the Community College of Allegheny County in Pennsylvania.
Today’s eSourcing Wiki-Wednesday topic is Harnessing the Power of Community. This is the last of 21 strategies for innovation in procurement through next generation sourcing. If you are interested in the rest of the series, you can read them on our Wiki-Wednesday news page.
This topic is well timed, as the United States plans to take a short break for the Thanksgiving holiday – we stop and take a moment to realize just how many people are critical to our successes. While it has always ‘taken a village’ and there has never been an ‘I in team’ these days our communities are increasingly virtual. Associations that were previously regular meeting spots have moved online. Our personal and professional networks are larger, but we bear responsibility for making sure they run just as deep. It means very little to have 500+ connections if you don’t know who any of them are well enough to leverage their knowledge and experience.
Since Buyers Meeting Point is a virtual entity, we’ve gotten pretty good at building and maintaining productive relationships with people we will probably never meet. Here are a few of our tips for virtual collaboration:
- Book time on your calendar to join discussions on LinkedIn. This doesn’t have to mean a daily or weekly time commitment. Once a month, allow yourself an hour to browse a few of the groups that are large enough to be interesting but not so big that they aren’t being moderated effectively.
- If you have a good exchange with someone via email (or other social media channel) find an opportunity to jump on the phone. It may only take 15 or 20 minutes, but making the effort to introduce yourself ‘the old fashioned way’ will not only make an impression on the person you’ve connected with but will pay dividends in terms of what you can accomplish in email moving forward.
- Do a favor for someone. This can be as simple as retweeting something of interest or giving a #FF (FollowFriday) where you think your followers will be interested. Take the simple step of “Liking” a post or a discussion with your Facebook account. People who make an effort to put good work forward will appreciate the simple gesture and you may be able to open a door to a better connection.
- Remember to ask for help when you need it. If you find yourself stuck, look through your network to see who might be able to help you out. People love to be regarded as knowledgeable, and the fact that you respect their experience enough to ask for their opinion will make them regard you positively in return.
Our theme this week has been networking. We published our newsletter featuring a book on networking and highlighting the "Networking Tips for those who don't like to" on the blog. With that in mind, I read a variety of business blogs and found this one I wanted to share.