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Peer MentoringWorks Networking Activity Guide

Introduction

As part of the Peer MentoringWorks community, you are a key part in bringing more inclusive experiences to participants through the importance of connections and relationships. The Peer MentoringWorks Networking Activity Guide is a tool to help individuals in creating a networking strategy with follow-on actions to help enhance inclusion success in community, education and employment through relationships.

Objectives

The purpose of the guide is to provide a networking and mentoring model for individuals seeking baseline information or ideas to augment their approach. This isn’t the beginning nor the end, rather a structure with strategies and tactics informed through crowdsourcing my personal network and bolstered by workshop participants.

Specifically, the content is designed to ensure you:

  1. Learn a four-phase model for structuring and enhancing networking activities to help meet personal objectives.
  2. Accessnewnetworkingresourcesandtechniques.
  3. Understand how to build confidence in networking through communication techniques.
  4. Create a networking plan and map to organize relationships.
  5. Describe how to identify and request mentors from networking activities.
  6. Identify at least 15 activities to support networking.
  7. Describe creative ways to follow-up with individuals after a networking meeting.
  8. Develop a networking and mentoring mindset.
  9. Expand and diversify networks.
  10. Share and enjoy helping others succeed.

The design of each section affords the opportunity to deliver content in either a workshop setting or as a guide for individual review. This was done intentionally so the content could be shared with individuals who I might not network with in-person. In either case, the Recommended Activities are practical exercises to help you with networking and mentoring.

The guide also includes inputs from young adults and professionals with disabilities to capture and share inclusive networking recommendations, tactics for success and other thoughts directly shared by and for you, the networker with a disability. Community voice matters and if you would like to add content to the Guide, please send your post and we’ll add.

Networking and mentoring relationships will bring you together with new people and those relationships will serve you well in designing, creating and living the life you want.

Derek Shields
Director, National Disability Mentoring Coalition Member, Peer MentoringWorks Community of Practice

“Every adult I have ever met has implored me to network, but I never knew what they meant by that until today’s workshop and this networking guide. I would love to continue to develop my networking skills, particularly the Four Steps to Become a Creative Hero. I remember you offered to have a 1-on-1, 30-minute meeting with anyone who wanted to further hone their networking skills, and I am writing to you to take you up on that offer. When are you free to meet with me about learning more about how to network effectively?

Again, thank you so much for introducing me to the concept of networking. I am excited and eager to learn how to do it.”

– Maisie Kramer Clark University, Class of 2023\

Reflections

Let’s start by reflecting on how you made it to this moment in your education and career by taking a quick inventory. Which people have helped you get to where you are? Who was your first mentor? Which teacher influenced you the most and why? Who are you still in touch with and why?

Activity #1: Complete the below form to identify members of your first network.

First Mentor:

Top 3 Influencers:

Grade-school Teacher:

College Professor:

Who are you still communicating with today?

Who do you wish you could talk to for advice that you are no longer in touch with?

Who do you wish you talked to in the past but never did?

COMMUNITY VOICE

“Networking is traditionally a very social and speech- oriented skill, and these qualities present extra challenges for us. What I love about this guide is that it doesn’t offer small talk tips or speaking standards to follow because these are not the purpose or the way to successful networking.

The purpose is to make a connection with another person that helps both of you develop a relationship based on shared values and purpose and potentially work together towards a shared goal in an exceptional way that would not have occurred to you separately!“

– Kim Elmore, Former Coordinator, Disability Rights, Education, Activism and Mentoring (DREAM) at the National Center for College Students with Disabilities

A headshot of Kimberly Elmore, smiling.
Disability Rights, Education, Activism, and Mentoring (DREAM) logo
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