Let’s face it networking can be intimidating. Walking into a room filled with strangers and striking up a conversation can be challenging. Last week I attended my first Lean In Canada event and it was also my first time participating in facilitated networking exercises.
Lean In Canada is a community of professional women empowering each other to build fulfilling careers. Lean In was founded by Sheryl Sandberg, current COO of Facebook and author of Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead. I am currently reading her book and if you have read it please comment below, I would love to hear your thoughts and your number one take away.
Before the event I wondered how it would work and if everyone would be committed to participate in the exercises. Overall it was an incredible experience; all of the attendees were engaged and eager to meet new people plus the exercises were fun and a great way to break the ice.
As soon as I walked in I could feel the electric energy of the room and was greeted with a bingo card. The objective was to go around the room to meet new people and get them to fill out the bingo squares. The sentences varied from works in finance, has a female boss to has a creative hobby.
This exercise was a perfect introduction to the event and it gave you the chance to go up to as many people as you like plus it was an instant conversation starter. Big thank you to everyone who shared their story with me and helped me fill up my bingo card.
The next exercise involved pairing up with a person you didn’t know and the objective was to take turns sharing your name, your career path and an interesting fact about yourself. The next step was to then find another pair and take turns introducing your partner. My partner and I were so engaged in each other’s conversation we didn’t end up joining another pair. Although it would have been nice to complete the exercise as planned it was beneficial to spend more time chatting with an individual. It’s important to remember that when you are engaged in a meaningful conversation it’s okay to adapt the exercise details. Thank you to Janet for sharing her story and career path with me. It was incredible to hear about how she pursued her own coaching businesses and recently started a podcast called She Breaks The Mold which shares the stories of a variety of successful women. Check it out!
As always, networking events are a fantastic way to meet people from a range of industries and this Summer Social was a great opportunity to meet like-minded women in Toronto. Looking forward to the next Lean In Canada event!
If you have been to an event that had a facilitated networking exercise please share in the comments section I would love to hear your thoughts and experiences!