Saturday, February 13, 2010

Networking Skills - Leverage Your Committee Work

Once you've found the right committee to join, it's a good idea to leverage your work. Remember the goal is to contribute while maximizing your efforts.

Rata PenuhPay Attention

The first stage is relatively easy. If you want to stand out, be quiet and say very little. Confused? Your first task should be to observe how the committee functions.

Remember you're new to the committee. Communication protocols and working relationships already exist. Let other committee members get used to your presence and get to know you over coffee during a break or after the meeting.

Ask the Right Question

A great way to start participating is to look for an opportunity to ask a question. Assuming you've read your briefing notes before the meeting and are prepared for the meeting, you still can't possibly know everything because it's all new. At some point someone will say something or use a term which is unfamiliar to you.

Jump right in with something like this, "Excuse me, please. Since I'm new to the committee and eager to learn, would you please briefly clarify for me what this means?" Listen, take notes and then close with, "Thank you."

Speak Only When...

After engaging with two or three questions over a few meetings, you're ready - and the committee is ready - for more contributions. The key is to speak only when you have something else of value to add to a discussion or to support one of your fellow committee members.

Nothing is more painful then people who talk and talk, but don't really add anything. One committee member, Harry, had a habit of adding his opinion to every single item on the agenda. In addition, he always took several minutes to simply repeat what everyone else had said in his own words.

This poor habit of Harry's ensured that no one paid any attention to what he said. In addition, Harry always talked, but rarely did anything. Fellow committee members just thought he was full of hot air.

Take the Right Action

The final step in standing out is taking action. Look for little things you can handle. The key here is to take care of it quickly. The faster, the better. If you fill in for someone and take the minutes for the meeting, try getting those finished within a day or two. Once you develop this habit, you'll develop a solid reputation. Then, of course, look for other ways you can contribute over a longer term.

No doubt if you've joined a committee you have all kinds of energy and great ideas as to how things could be better. That's fantastic. However, if you dump all of that when you first meet your fellow committee members they'll be overwhelmed.

Practice the disciplined steps outlined here and you'll find yourself having many successes and enjoy a well-earned reputation.

By : Kai_Rambow

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