Youth Focus Initiative is my pet project which I started when I was 24, an age by which most students have already completed their first degree and for some their PhDs. After completing secondary school, financial meltdown at the family level put a temporary cap on my thirst for a higher education. As fate would have it, it was in between the struggling eight years of self-help, selling petrol as a pump attendant, teaching pupils in private schools, and working
as a community newspaper reporter that I started Youth Focus Media (later renamed Youth Focus Initiative) in Lagos.
The idea was (and still is) to motivate and engage the youths, wherever they are. I believe that some of the ideas that were packaged into those modest editions of the Youth Focus magazine had the same impact as the regular talks I gave along with the marketing of the publication. I made the magazine so simple that even the busiest person in the world would still find it ‘unputdownable!’ My sister and I were the company and we ‘hired’ some ad hoc distributors. It was not easy in the beginning, but we later found it very exciting.
In August 2001, we went to a massive programme called the Youth Empowerment Scheme at the National Stadium, Surulere in Lagos. The whole stadium was full and we had armed ourselves with 100 copies of Youth Focus magazine to test run the sales. In ten minutes all of our copies had been mopped up and we had to restock with an extra 200 copies, which also sold out within a few hours. It was then that it dawned on us that our Ghanaian cotenant
(Mr. Adoo) was right when he had told us to take ‘everything’ to the programme. We were surprised by the number of sales that we made in four consecutive days. Continue reading “The Story of My Pet” »
Chances are a few times in a year, you will have an invite to a birthday or send off party, a retirement dinner, an after-graduation ceremony or a corporate executive meet and greet ritual. Before you delve deeper into this essay, I would like to point out that in today’s world if you know how the ‘system’ works, you should know that it’s not about the food.
‘It’s all about whom you know’ has become a cliche and to some of you, it’s a negative one. Unfortunately, it is the reality, like or not.
We’re so interconnected and interdependent that in order to take full advantage of all that’s available to you, you need to artfully and purposely network using every opportunity that’s offered to you. Continue reading “Get More From Networking Events Beyond the Wine and Cheese” »
Categories: Career Tools, Multicultural Social and Professional Etiquettes, Personal Branding, Personal Growth, Professional Networking, Student Center Tags: personal branding, personal growth, professional networking
A few weeks ago, US football team the Indianapolis Colts parted company with their future hall of fame quarterback, the four-time MVP, Peyton Manning. I can appreciate that some of you reading this have nothing do with football or perhaps don’t even understand the sports. However, give me a moment to share with you a lesson I believe we can all learn from the Mr. Manning’s departure from the Colts. You’re not irreplaceable: I got interested in American football just about 5 year ago and over this period, I observed that Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts were almost synonymous. Folks who have followed the league longer will say the same thing. Since Mr. Manning joined the Colts in 1990, he worked hard and gave more to the team than anyone did. He won Super Bowl with the team. Sadly, during the 2011 season, he had a neck injury and underwent a surgery. His team without him ended the season with memorable 2 win and 14 losses.
Categories: Business etiquette, Career Tools, Motivation & Self-Help, Multicultural Social and Professional Etiquettes, Personal Branding, Personal Growth, Professional Networking, Student Center Tags: Indianapolis Colts, job skills, Quarterback Peyton Manning
1. Asking only what your network can do for you Networking shouldn’t about you but also about the folks in your network. It’s about reaching out and asking how you can be of help to someone.
by: Connie Thanasoulis-Cerrachio
Networking is the buzz word for the 21st Century, yet few do it properly. Networking isn’t about asking for something. Instead, networking is about establishing a long-term, mutually beneficial relationship of give and take with the emphasis on the give!
Networking is about being authentically interested in finding out about a person and honestly wanting to know them well enough to positively affect their business, their lives, and their interests. We network for things now that we want 2, 4, 6, and 12 months from now. And remember that the more you give to a person, the better they’ll think of you and the more they’ll open their network to you.
And what does that mean exactly? Well … everyone knows roughly about 250 people, and if we impress someone to the point where they “know and like” us, they will probably open their network of 250 up to us. So if I network well with one person, I’ll have access to 500 people (my 250, plus their 250). If I network well with 5 people, I’ll have access to 1,250 people. Network well with 10 people that means 2,500 people, and so on, and so on. It’s a powerful concept especially when you are searing for a job.
Here are 5 tips on how to network effectively, even when you are feeling awkward and nervous.
Tip #1: If you are really nervous about approaching someone, don’t approach them just yet. Observe and watch others in the room. See how they do it and read their body language. Are they establishing good eye contact, but not staring people down?! Are they shaking hands and smiling at the same time? Learning from masters is a great first step and I recommend reading Vault’s Guide to Schmoozing where you can learn about the greatest networkers of all time.
Tip #2: Ask open ended questions like how did they get into the business they are in, or what was their best day in that business? Keep it positive but allow them to do the talking! LISTEN to the responses of these questions and you’ll be on your way to creating that long term mutually beneficial relationship. It must be authentic as well … you can’t act like you are interested or it will surely fail. Another great networking question would be to ask what advice they could give to you at this point in your career. Again – the trick is to NOT ask for a job.
Tip #3: Have thick skin. If someone doesn’t get back to you, do not take it personally. Continue to network with them by sending them articles that may be of interest to them (if you let them talk enough, you’ll find out what they are interested in), send them a holiday card, send them an article about their company, their industry, about themselves if they are in the news.
Tip #4: Create a LinkedIn account, and start to include everyone you know. This should include present and past co-workers, people you went to school with, people you play sports with, people from your place of worship. In fact, as an exercise, you should create a list of at least 100 people you know, and attempt to connect with them via LinkedIn.
Tip #5: Ramp up activities during prime networking seasons/events like the holidays and summertime BBQs. Get out there and act like things are going well because positive attracts positive and negativity repels.
These five tips will definitely get you solidly on your way towards networking more and being more comfortable while doing so. And I’ll throw in a Tip #6: Keep a calendar and proactively network with people every single day because they more you network, the easier it will become. The world couldn’t turn and business couldn’t be done without networking, yet you’ll not find one networking class in a college or university. Remember to not ask for something. That will make people run in the opposite direction. Networking is about creating a long-term, mutually beneficial relationship of give and take, with the emphasis on the give!