Last Friday I presented a Networking workshop for the scholars of the Young Latinas Leadership Institute, a group of the 100 Hispanic Women organization. They are students at the City University of New York (CUNY) who receive a $1000 scholarship every year during their four years of college plus mentorship, internships and support from 100 Hispanic Women.
I talked about the importance of establishing relationships while they are in college and that an excellent way to develop a good network is by becoming visible to others. That means, to get others to know you and notice you for your uniqueness, relevance and for what you have to offer.
One way to achieve this is by asking questions at workshops and presentations you attend so you get noticed by presenters and participants alike. The key is to ask the right question! So here is a description of what a good question sounds like:
• It makes you look smart while it doesn’t make you look smarter than the presenter
• It allows the presenter to continue to show off his or her expertise
• It gives the audience additional information that they hadn’t heard yet• It doesn’t put the presenter on the spot
• It’s not confrontational
My suggestion is that before you ask a question at an event, you introduce yourself and thank the presenter for the presentation or for his/her insights or for his/her inspiration, whatever the case may be. Then go ahead and ask a question that is:
- • Well phrased
- • To the point
The idea is that when you ask good questions, most of the time, people want to meet you and find out more about who you are and what you do. And that is a powerful way to expand your professional network.