Building affinity and expanding our professional networks with a Networking Workshop!
Updated: Dec 31, 2020
On 5th December, 17 attendees participated in SFYAD’s second series of the Career High Tea Workshop Series: Buddhist Recipe to Break the Ice in Networking Registration. In this workshop, participants learn how to network, especially virtually, during the pandemic. Furthermore, adding the Four Embracing Means as Dharma added flavor to the workshop on perspectives we can take on networking.
We invited two instructors: 1) Tinny Widjaja, Localization Specialist @ WeLocalize (Fortune 500), Co-Founder & President @ Interfaith Ambassadors Lake Travis, and BLIA Austin - Vice President; and 2) Jimmy Wu, Instructor and Academic Advisor @ MacEwan University, Managing Director @ Canadian Asian Hospitality Industry Association, BLIA Edmonton - Vice President. Our instructors had tremendous networking experience and shared their knowledge, wisdom, and Dharma through the workshop.
The workshop started with an opening speech by Venerable Miao Zhong, Guiding Venerable of SFYAD. Venerable Miao Zhong stressed that to build our professional networks, we must form good affinities with others first. We could use the Four Means of Embracing: Giving, Kind Words, Altruism, and Empathy to broaden our network.
Our instructors shared a three-step approach to speak to potential contacts and build positive relationships with them. First, our instructors shared how we should carry ourselves and approach a person we want to network with. Then, they elaborated on how to maintain conversations and build rapport through personal storytelling and active listening. Lastly, after founding a contact, they stressed that it is important to follow-up and maintain the relationship with them. Tinny mentioned that we could keep notes on who we have contacted, our interactions with them, and follow up on conversations in the same e-mail thread. Jimmy shared quick networking tips we could be mindful of in everyday situations.
We had a special guest appearance by Lynn Chang, PhD., Founder of Career Zen. She shared that we all have the innate ability to excel in whatever we do; we just need to bring that out. At our closing, Selene Chew, President of SFYAD, reiterated the importance of the Four Means of Embracing in networking as we are interconnected and we depend on one another to succeed. She also mentioned that building a positive and wholesome character through Dharma practice will help us with networking.
During Q&A session, participants raised very practical and important questions such as how to change our approach accordingly and keeping track of conversations. Our instructors replied that it is important to familiarize with the other party and find more information about them in advance so that interactions will be more open, fluid, honest, and positive. Furthermore, when the outcome is not in our favor, we should not be frustrated, but instead, understand the reasons behind that and make better preparations in the future. Participants also shared that each conversation is not isolated, and will lead to the next topic and conversation. Hence establishing and maintaining a good relationship with our network requires long-term practice and effort.
This event was the second Career High Tea Series Workshop, right after the "A Buddhist Recipe for Crafting a Captivating Interview Self-Intro" workshop. It is hoped that through this series of workshops, young adults will be more confident with their careers, and master practical skills in job hunting, and learn to use Dharma to solve career problems.