Guidelines for Meeting Attendees
Welcome to your first Regional Networking Group meeting! We want you to enjoy your participation in these meetings and insure that you benefit from your attendance. In order to get the most out of these networking sessions, please review the following guidelines:
- Each meeting will begin promptly at 9:00am. Doors open at 8:45am to provide a 15-minute period for Sign-In, Coffee and Informal Networking. Take Advantage of this time to get settled and meet other attendees.
- As a Newcomer, you will be asked to complete a Registration Form and will be given this Guideline for review and future reference. The registration process is very important and the information provided will be used to create a central contact list for regular communications with the group, as well as help your Group Leader (GL) and Co-Facilitator (CoF) to track the progress and success of these meetings in the form of a report submitted to the MCOA and Program Manager. Any and all information collected on the Registration Form and Sign-In Sheet will be held with the strictest confidentiality.
- As stated above, each session will commence PROMPTLY at 9:00am. Please be considerate of your fellow attendees – be prompt with your arrival. Late arrivals can be distracting to the attendees as well as the GL and CoF.
- These networking meetings are NOT social gatherings. Your GL has invested a great deal of preparation time in advance to make this a Professional and Productive businesslike environment. Your attire and demeanor should be reflective of a professional environment. Business casual attire is expected from each attendee. Respectful behavior and language are required (EG. no cuss words allowed!). As in any business meeting, please refrain from using your cell phone and of course ringers should be OFF!
- Your GL and CoF are committed to creating and maintaining a Safe Environment for sharing information and ideas. Please be assured that any information which you provide, including personal info requested on the Registration Form and Sign-In Sheet, as well as any thoughts, feelings or ideas, will not be shared with any person or entity outside of the COA. As the saying goes: “What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas”!
- The underlying ‘Golden Rule’ of successful networking – in any venue – is the G2G RULE– You Need to Give to Get!! Be prepared to be open to sharing ideas and materials that may be helpful to the group. This is NOT a competition – to see who can get an interview or job offer first! The essence of Networking is to develop reciprocal, symbiotic relationships – to Care and Share with your fellow attendees.
- Each time you attend a meeting (including your first time!), you will be expected to introduce yourself to the group with your Thirty Second Elevator Speech. Be Prepared!! This is a great opportunity and a safe environment to try out your speech on the group. Practice will only improve your ability to use this all-important 30-second spiel and have ‘roll off your tongue’ in networking events and interviews.
- If you don’t have an Elevator Speech yet, don’t worry! This is the perfect place to start to create one. The first time around, you may only get as far as introducing yourself with a few comments. Listening to your fellow attendees, and guidance and input from your GL and CoF, will help you create a great 30-second elevator in the coming weeks. This will be a Work in Progress – with improvements at each meeting you attend.
- Your fellow attendees, with the guidance of the GL, will be encouraged to give you feedback on your elevator speech. Be open to critiquing – it can only help you make your speech better! And, be prepared to share thoughts and ideas with others about their speech as well; be kind and respectful when offering your critique. Remember the G2G Rule – and remember that all attendees are struggling with same fears and challenges of job search just as you are!
- Networking is really all about developing Reciprocal Relationships. Keep your eyes and ears open for job leads, new resources, pertinent news on job market, interesting articles, relevant connections, job fairs, networking events etc that may be useful for other attendees. And, be prepared to share – this is not a competitive situation but one of reciprocity and symbiosis! We will always provide time for sharing Leads and Needs within the group.
- The GL and CoF are working hard behind the scenes to prepare meaningful and interesting “Today’s Topics” and related activities, as well as secure Guest Speakers. Be a Proactive Participant; it will help other attendees to participate as well. The greater the participation and interaction between attendees, the more beneficial these meetings will be to everyone in attendance.
- One-on-One Time is a great time to either get some personal “speed coaching” from your GL (3-5 minutes/person) or use the time to connect and network informally with other attendees who have similar interests and goals or the same job search challenges. Be positive and upbeat; enthusiasm begets enthusiasm. Again, this is a great opportunity to hone your networking skills when you have only a brief period of time to develop rapport and capture attention or a useful idea.
- At the conclusion of each meeting, during the Wrap-Up period, you will be given an opportunity to complete the Evaluation Form given to you at the sign-in table. Your feedback is needed and greatly appreciated, whether positive or negative! We will be use Your Feedback to add new content, topics, hands-on activities and speakers to insure that we are addressing the needs of the attendees.
- Share ideas with the GL and CoF on topics for future meetings that may be of interest to the group. Perhaps you read an article, met with someone or attended another networking event and learned something new and different that could be helpful to the group. Include any of these ideas in your Evaluation Form- we really do read them!
- We strive to make these meetings invaluable to your job search process and a great venue for networking with other job seekers. Each session will address a specific topic which is relevant to your job search. We want you to keep coming back! As a Returnee, please make any Newcomers Feel Welcome – remember how you felt the first time you came to one of these networking meetings!
- Meeting Cancellation Policy: meeting cancellations will be based on the school cancellation policy of the town/city in which your Host COA is located. Meeting cancellations will be communicated by email by the CoF in a timely fashion. Please be sure to check your email if inclement weather is in the forecast!
- Please read the Guidance to Deductible Job Search Expenses to see if you qualify for any deductible expenses on your next tax return! Please be advised that this document is only providing guidance; any questions that you may have about your qualification to meet the criteria required by the IRS should be addressed on your own to a CPA or Tax Specialist.