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What I Learned from the Power Networking Conference #PNC17

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Thirty years ago Dr. George C. Fraser had a vision to use networking as the tool to transform African American communities for the better. He wrote the book on networking, literally, it’s called “Success Runs in Our Race: The Complete Guide to Effective Networking in the Black Community.”  It’s a book that is a classic and a required reading at most HBCUs. 

This year I attended his Power Networking Conference. I admit, I haven’t been to the conference since my daughter was born – which was 20 years ago!  The conference, held in Prince George’s County, MD at the Gaylord National Resort, celebrated its 30 year anniversary.

Dr. Fraser’s vision was always about connecting the dots.

What I learned this year was the difference between old school and new school networking.  Drastically different. Is one better than the other? Well, let’s just say they both work together. But there is an edge to “old school” because the core of networking is about PERSONAL, REAL and AUTHENTIC relationships.  The “new school” is about social media – and Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter – are the norm.

Now, I love social media. It has it’s place. But it will never replace face-to-face.

When I meet someone who I don’t really know from social media – the first thing they want to do is “take a selfie” together and post.  That’s fine. But, we should probably sit down and talk. What generally happened at this event was a lot of photos and not must “connecting” on a personal level.

I’m old school and love new school. But there has to be a balance because networking can’t be done in a “snap” and “hashtag.” One way to really connect the dots, as Dr. Fraser teaches, is to take time to get to know people.  It’s not about celebrity pics or about how many “likes” you get on social media – but about how deep the relationship can develop and sustain over time.

Taking social media pictures are a start. But from the conference I learned that it takes focus and follow through to really connect the dots. 

P.S. Dr. George C. Fraser is one of my mentors. He wrote the foreword for my book, Synergy Energy, and is the inspiration for our new magazine: SPEAKERS.  (More on that later in my next blog post).

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