By Wendy Meluch
A first glance at the Western Museums Association 2013 Annual Meeting Program
Western Museums Association (WMA) members tell us that they highly value networking opportunities at the Annual Meetings, but not everyone feels comfortable making new acquaintances at coffee breaks or other gatherings. Make the most of your 2013 Annual Meeting this year by kick starting it in Conference & Networking 101 on Wednesday, October 9 at 4:00pm (immediately before the Opening Reception). This session is not just for beginners – veteran networkers will be able to pick up new ideas, and hopefully share some of their techniques as well.
First, it's important to remember that "networking" isn't a race to collect business cards. Networking is the process of connecting with others. A net requires care to weave, it can't be slapped together. Take a minute to think about the people in your social, academic, and business networks. How did they arrive to be a part of your network? How have you kept them in your network? (I'll bet you're better at this than you thought.)
Now think about whom you'd like to connect with at the 2013 Annual Meeting in October. Your list probably includes old friends, as well as new individuals, or types of professionals that you'd like to meet. Will you need help during the conference to identify the new folks on your list? Would you like to get introduced to someone in particular? If so, who might be able to help you with these people? (Hint: The Utah Museums Association and WMA exist to serve members; ask for help from a friendly board member near you.)
We know that one of the most common stumbling blocks at networking events is knowing how to join a conversation group while people are standing around chatting, coffee or cocktails in hand. Has this ever held you back? Have you developed a technique for this situation? I'd love to hear how others out there handle this! Please post your thoughts in the comments below and I'll reply. And don't hold back – if you have other questions about networking feel free to post them here or contact me directly.
Join us for a lively session on Wednesday, October 9 at 4:00pm and be revved up and ready to go in time for the 5:00 Opening Reception.
Wendy Meluch began consulting in evaluation in 1997 and established Visitor Studies Services shortly after that. As Principal of VSS, she enjoys working with a wide variety of educational leisure centers including zoos, parks, gardens, science centers and museums. Wendy has spoken internationally about visitor studies and evaluation. She holds an MA in Museum Studies from San Francisco State University, and BA's in Anthropology and Tourism Management, and a Certificate of Latin American Studies from Michigan State University.