The National AfterSchool Association is the leading voice of the afterschool profession dedicated to development, education, and care of children and youth during their out of school hours.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Develop Your Network

As an afterschool leader, you've probably heard this advice numerous times - get out and network. But you might not know how or where to begin. Maybe it’s been suggested to you to keep track of people you meet, add their contact information into a database, and have a presence and be sociable at professional events. Some think that networking involves nothing more than collecting friends on Facebook or making connections on LinkedIn. Too many never learn how to move beyond meeting people to effectively make their networking experiences work for them. It's unfortunate that people are not provided with extensive training about how to develop a network.

NAA wants to help.

Developing a professional afterschool network is more than keeping track of people you've met or know in the field. To be effective, your network must consist of people who not only know you, but also like you and trust you. People in a close knit network will always have you in the back of their minds - and they'll watch your back. They genuinely want to see you succeed.

To develop an effective networking, people need to be able to see you as an individual willing to give as much or more than you receive.

Networking is not about keeping score of how many contacts you can collect to serve your own self interests. It is not about who owes someone else for some favor. Successful networkers have influence and attain it by placing others' interests first. They know how to be a friend, care for people, and make others feel good about themselves. They become magnetic.

Networking is a cycle of giving and receiving.  You put something in, and you receive in return. Your true worth is determined by how much you give compared to how much you take from others.

Come to the 2012 NAA National Convention in Dallas where you will be provided numerous opportunities and the best platform to develop a network on a national scale. Connect with those who do what you do, give of yourself, and great things will happen professionally as a result.

Paul G. Young, Ph.D.
President & CEO
National AfterSchool Association

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