One of the best ways to network, build great relationships, and get more involved in your local area is volunteering! In knowing I was on my way home from Vancouver, earlier this spring I preemptively was reaching out to groups like TEDx-Wilmington and others (Engineers Without Borders, Horn Entrepreneurship Program at UD, etc) to get involved! My goal was to hit the ground running and start doing things right away upon return. The easiest way to approach these groups is to lead with a give. You want to help, that's it. That's the best way to gain traction in your networking circles :) I talk all about this in episode 009 of The 1% Engineer Show https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fYX7x5lxjh0&t=188s. What is your intent? Lead with a give, not an ask, and you will certainly make bonds with others.
Another great way to get involved with any groups or organizations, is to offer a skill you have. Do you make websites? Are you a blog writer? Do you make videos like I do? Take photos? Run serious social media accounts? Graphic design? Rhianon seen above is the #2 with TEDx-Wilmington, Ajit's right hand, and she's a graphic designer and runs her own business. She's also super awesome, and the type of person you want speaking on behalf of your TEDx brand. Check out her graphic design work here http://rhicreates.com/
Another example of involvement through offering a skill is Laurie, pictured above. who runs the social media accounts for TEDx-Wilmington. During the birthday dinner, our first time meeting, she mentioned that she's the Senior Social Media specialist at Sallie Mae, which is a $4.75B company. that's an insane way to quantify the scope of her role with social media at the company! She's able to leverage her professional skills, and provide value to TEDx. Great stuff Laurie :) You rock!
What does this mean for you, 1% Engineers? There are two takeaways here. One, get involved with influential events hosted by key players in your area, particularly in engineering realms. TEDx speakers and event-goers are commonly STEM related, which is clearly my networking focus. There are plenty of engineering / STEM emphasis events going on at your university / regional area. Get involved! The second takeaway is for you to push your skills higher and be able to add value to event organizers, engineering associations, research groups, your university, and future employers :)
Get out there and do stuff, hone your skills, and stay hungry on your quest to be a 1% Engineer!!!