Russell Doup is my nephew. Russell Doup is a 25-year-old stockbroker and former Ohio State football player. Russell Doup is living with his uncle…yours truly…while he builds his client base. Consequently, we hang out a lot. About a month ago, we watched The Founder the story of Ray Kroc who was the force behind McDonald’s. We both loved the movie. Ray, played by Michael Keaton, was a champion networker. He used this skill to transform a small hamburger stand in California into a dominant multinational corporation. Russell is a 24/7 networker. We agreed that the movie was inspirational and it inspired a passionate conversation about networking.
Watching the movie challenged me to inventory all the times I’ve benefited from networking. I met my lovely wife through social networking (this was old school social networking prior to the internet…I’m talking 1988). Every teaching interview I’ve landing was the result of personal and direct networking. As Russell and I sat on the couch and discussed the implications of The Founder, a thought struck me, Networking is darned important, but schools don’t teach kids how to do it. I turned to my nephew and asked if he ever learned about networking in school. He responded negatively. My experience as a student was the same. In the midst of this Eureka moment, I knew I had to do an episode on networking featuring my networking nephew!
Kids don’t know how to network.
Ostentatiously introduce networking activities to students.
What you can do Tomorrow:
- Do an icebreaker. If you need ideas, check out Episode 43.
- Debrief students on what they learned about their classmates during the icebreaker.
- Challenge students to seek an answer outside of class in a face-to-face fashion and then encourage them to solicit another resource from their interviewee.
- After students have practiced networking, perhaps in a few days…challenge them to go virtual. Locate an expert online who might be well equipped to answer a difficult question. Direct kids to email this expert. And like before, challenge them to ask the expert for another resource they could contact.
When students practice this essential skill, they’ll get better at it. When they get better at networking, social and professional opportunities will saturate their futures.