Several executive student leaders gathered in Sykes last Wednesday to attend a short discussion on external networking. The discussion was presented by the Students Actively Involved in Leadership (SAIL) Program.SAIL is one of the many leadership exercise programs here on campus which seeks to build leaders at the university, promote interaction among student leaders and assist individuals in developing skills necessary to help community and organizations grow. Students who attend 12 leadership sessions of SAIL and other programs, as well as engage in volunteer service, will be recognized as certified student leaders.
The topic of discussion at this particular meeting was the importance of external networking and was facilitated by SAIL Leadership Consultant Michael Neary, a senior here at the university and a parking and public safety senator in the Student Government Association. During the program, Neary focused on the major role that external networking plays in an individual’s ability to organize events outside of the university, grab advertisers and guest speakers and ultimately seek career placement after college. “External networking is all about ‘breaking outside of your bubble,'” he said, “because it not only matters ‘what’ you know in this world but also ‘who’ you know. The ability to network externally also shows that you’re a social person who is not afraid to meet people.”
According to Neary, a person that wants to seek the services of people outside of the university must do three things: identify who they need and conduct research, establish contacts with that person or organization and finally try to establish a relationship with anyone they talk to.
“The key is to maintain a professional demeanor but be friendly at the same time.” Neary stated, “Never give attitude or act cold, even if you don’t get a nice person on the phone.”
He also mentioned that sometimes a person has to go through several contacts in order to get the person they’re after, which brings to light the point that external networking “isn’t hard, but sometimes can grow into a major project.” Neary was also able to illustrate situations in his college career where he had to organize events and their success was all due to his ability to network externally.
Among those student leaders in attendance last Wednesday was SGA Trustee Chuck Liedike.
Liedike, who has been trustee of the Student Government Association since 2003, provided detailed descriptions of the role that external networking plays in his job, since part of it entails meeting with and keeping contact with key state officials who are beneficial resources for SGA activities. Furthermore, Liedike also expressed how knowing prominent people might be able to play a role in advancing the individual.
“As resources, you want to be able to call on people you can say you know.” he said, “Stay in touch with people you work with because after graduation they might be able to help you.”
Also in attendance were SGA Senators Matthew Holliday and William Christman. The discussion was Holliday’s second SAIL program.
“I can honestly say that I’ve learned much at these activities because the people are very knowledgeable.” he stated, “SAIL is an excellent program and all student leaders should take advantage of the valuable resources that it is.”
The SAIL Program will host many more discussion programs this semester in Sykes Student Union. Upcoming topics include webpage design, conversational icebreakers and building public speaking skills. Sessions are only about forty five minutes to an hour long.
Also later this month, the Office of Student Leadership and Involvement will be presenting the 20th Annual Leadership Experience. The event will feature leadership sessions for registered students to attend as well as a guest lecture from Chad Crittenden of Survivor: Vanatu. Registration is free.