Friday, March 7, 2008

Teaching Is a Great Way to Network, part 2

Guest lecturing at Drexel

Last week, Todd Cohen and I led a Personal Selling class at Drexel University in a wide-ranging discussion on the strategic relationship between marketing and sales. Todd and I both came away impressed with the level of knowledge and the drive we saw in the students.

I've written before on how teaching is a great way to network: you get positioned as an expert, you get to talk about yourself and your experience for an hour, and (if you do it right) you get a room full of people that will go tell all their friends about this great expert they heard speak. You can't buy that sort of advertising.

The same goes for speaking. If you are speaking to a group that's open to the public, then you get all the free advanced publicity, and then later you get to put "guest lecturer" or "popular speaker" in your list of accomplishments. I can tell you, having been maintaining the FunWithNetworking calendar of events over the past few months, that there are people who speak regularly at different networking groups around the area. It's a great way to get visibility.

Teaching is a great way to network
Photo on Flickr used in exchange for a link to

Every time I have spoken somewhere, it has opened the door to new opportunities for me. For example, I spoke to a class at Villanova in September on Corporate Communications. One of the people in the class later connected with me on LinkedIn and became a regular reader of my blog. A few weeks ago, he was telling some of his co-workers about me and my blog, and they've now invited me to come in and talk with them as a possible consultant.

I'm not sure yet where this is going to go, but none of it would have happened if I hadn't made the effort to speak back in September.


Anonymous said...

Yes, I completely agree. Every time I speak about networking in front of a group, I come away with some good connections. Like you said, you are positioned as an expert so people want to get to know you. I always encourage others to speak because it opens up opportunities.

Oliver Picher said...

Thanks, Jason. I'm always amazed at the results. My next experiment is to do some publishing -- articles, pamplets, etc. -- and see what results I get from that. I would bet, in the short run, that speaking is a better way to build up your networking strengths, but that writing gives a long-term build that keeps giving and giving.