Speaking Makes you Think
I recently had the wonderful opportunity to participate in the Women in Media Conference at UCSB! As part of the panel “Taking Charge,” I got to share my experiences as a woman in the traditionally male-dominated world of media and technology.
My fellow panel members and I shared wisdom on sexual harassment, negotiating, taking initiative, and speaking up for yourself in professional settings. As someone who had to learn a lot of these difficult lessons on my own, I was thrilled to pass on what I’ve learned to the bright young women in attendance.
Questions Can Tell You What’s Important
After my fellow panel members and I finished our presentations, we took questions from the audience. I really admired how earnest and thoughtful the questions were, and the warm receptiveness of the audience showed how much they appreciated hearing from the panel.
A question that stood out for me was, “When do I, as a future employee or entrepreneur, start networking?” Many women think they need to have their path pretty mapped out before they reach out for advice or help in taking their next step. Often, they feel that they can’t discuss their business until it is up and running, because it would seem unprofessional.
My response was that you network before you start — as you are finding your way. Survey people about what they’d want in a business like yours. Or, if you’re seeking a position, ask others what they have experienced in that position, or what would they would want from someone working in that position.
Networking for Mentoring and for Client Acquisition
Early on in your networking, you need answers and mentoring advice. As you progress, you need to find your clients. If you’ve asked a lot of questions leading up to your launch, then you know how people view your business idea (and perhaps how they view you), and you’ll have a sense of how they would like to have your plan explained to them.
During the post-Q&A break, this was the concept people wanted to further discuss with me. It was the source of a number of stimulating discussions.
Share Your Experience! You May Have Helpful Answers You Didn’t Know You Had
This whole conference was a great idea, and I loved being part of it! The best part was being able to answer questions and getting a sense of the topics that younger generations really need help understanding. Because I also teach occasionally at Women’s Economic Ventures, this feedback helped me update the message I share with my students.
While I was only present for the first day of the conference, UCSB’s student newspaper, The Daily Nexus, wrote a wonderful, thorough article about the event! Please check it out here.
I encourage you to share your knowledge with others and mentor young people.
My thanks to members of my panel from left in the above photo Karen Boublis of HR Business Solutionz, Lisa Gates of She Negotiates, Lisa Braithwaite – Public Speaking Coach and our moderator Sara Caputo of Radiant Organizing. And to the UCSB Communications Department.