Making the Uncomfortable Comfortable: Summer 2014 ConnectTWC

Making the Uncomfortable Comfortable: Summer 2014 ConnectTWC

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July 14, 2014

 

Rain poured outside The Washington Center’s headquarters on July 10, but it was conversation that flooded the building as more than 60 alumni and students took part in the summer installment of ConnectTWC.

 

“Networking is all about learning how to be comfortable and uncomfortable at the same time,” said Brian Jones, a 2003 alumnus who co-facilitated the evening’s workshop with TWC Managing Director Kevin Nunley.

 

To help alumni and students navigate that delicate balance, Jones and Nunley shared strategies for networking (with tact!) in your workplace, expanding your influence by connecting contacts with one another, and using body language to present your ideal professional image.

 

Jones underscored the importance of nonverbal communication in networking with a personal story. For more than a decade, he worked in consulting and strategic planning – fields in which his youthful appearance (nearing his midthirties, he looks closer to 26) worked against him. To be successful, Jones’ approach and demeanor had to counteract any assumptions military leaders or civilian executives made upon first meeting him.

 

“I had to work hard so the focus wasn’t about what I looked like but the important and valuable information I could provide,” said Jones, who recently opened his own firm, The RAIL Group, LLC, in Alexandria, Va.

 

After nearly two hours of mixing and mingling, Jones and Nunley wrapped up the workshop by presenting special prizes to the evening’s top networkers: Yoselyn Pina, an international affairs student from Florida State University; and Bill Uditsky, a 2013 TWC alumnus now working at the Department of Defense. They then turned the mic over to the audience to close the evening with their favorite career advancement advice. The most popular based on crowd reaction? Always be extra nice to your administrative assistants – they can make or break your job experience, said Connor Kurtz, an international affairs intern from Canada’s University of Alberta.

 

To view photos from the event, visit the Flickr gallery.

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