Urban planning community

+ Reply to thread
Results 1 to 8 of 8

Thread: Question about networking

  1. #1
    Cyburbian D/M's avatar
    Registered
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Buying Land in Transition
    Posts
    36

    Question about networking

    Hi again! This has been answered in some other threads, but I wanted some more advice if I could: What are the best tips for networking within the profession? Is job shadowing something that happens often? Should I concentrate more on planning conferences and planning commission meetings, or should I be more proactive and do more cold calling or letter writing? I realize that every situation is different, but I wanted to know if anyone had any networking 'rules to live by' so to speak that usually helped in a general way?

    Thanks in advance!

    D/M

  2. #2
    Cyburbian estromberg's avatar
    Registered
    Jul 2007
    Location
    Northern Illinois
    Posts
    127
    I tend to leave networking issues to the IT dept. Hee hee But seriously, I believe that the professional associations and conferences are a great way to meet and greet. Another would involve asking a question involving the person's ordinances, ie zoning ordinance and interpretation. Still another and probably one of the best are informal groups like Cyburbia.

  3. #3
    Cyburbian D/M's avatar
    Registered
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Buying Land in Transition
    Posts
    36
    Quote Originally posted by estromberg View post
    I tend to leave networking issues to the IT dept. Hee hee But seriously, I believe that the professional associations and conferences are a great way to meet and greet. Another would involve asking a question involving the person's ordinances, ie zoning ordinance and interpretation. Still another and probably one of the best are informal groups like Cyburbia.
    The members of the IT department at my office have a hard enough time networking with each other lol Thanks for the advice, estromberg. Should I ask about how they develop their ordinances? Or just ask for comparison, (ie this is what we do in my community, how about yours?)

  4. #4
    Cyburbian Veloise's avatar
    Registered
    May 2004
    Location
    Grand Rapids, Michigan (Detroit ex-pat since 2004)
    Posts
    4,910
    Quote Originally posted by D/M View post
    Hi again! This has been answered in some other threads, but I wanted some more advice if I could: What are the best tips for networking within the profession? ...
    My local regional planning commission has a Yahoo group. I joined it for the events, discussions, and sometimes excellent info. (The users have a tendency to post photos or linked articles, which are invisible for me.)
    I'm also an Urban Planet junkie, and when we start in on a local project or event, I'll throw out some planner-ese. (My workplace is a "um, y'know" sort of joint, so it's nice practice to be able to use my vocabulary.)
    Because I'm not presently working in planning, but I want to be, I tell everyone who asks that I'm a planner presently working in the private sector. Then we discuss their side yard setbacks or the sign ordinance. The place that fixes my car has a driveway/parking issue, and each manager for the last couple years has gotten to enjoy my sketch of what they could do.
    I've never gotten much benefit from going out to bars as a networking scheme. They could be planners or football fans or St Patricks Day celebrants; all the same to me.

    HTH

  5. #5
    Cyburbian Emeritus Chet's avatar
    Registered
    Aug 2001
    Location
    South Milwaukee
    Posts
    8,935
    One of my best - OK maybe THE BEST in my professional career- new hires came out of the blue, networking at a state planning conference. He was bold, just fininishing his masters, confindent, and just walked up and chatted at our exhibit booth, and left his resume. We were so impressed, that although we really didnt have alot of work at the time, we hired him anyway, on the "stike while the iron is hot" theory.

    If you have shadowing opportunities, don't forego them. But they may not be your in-road.

    One final note - as an entry level person, there can be a fine line between imprumptu networking and being a pest. Us old folk have work to do - outside of conferences, monthly group meetings, etc, please avoid too many impromtu calls, esp. if we are not advertising.

    That said, I do wish you all the best in this career that i love.


    Gotta go Star Trek: Voyager is on!

  6. #6
    Cyburbian D/M's avatar
    Registered
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Buying Land in Transition
    Posts
    36
    Thank you Veloise and Chet for the advice. That's a good idea about acting as a planner and striking up those kinds of conversations.

    The employee that Chet talks about seems to have had a good idea what he wanted to do and how to get it. I would have taken them on too. That's going to be a problem with me in networking and in planning: I have this habit of being very intimidated when talking to professionals, especially when it's in a field I'm really interested in like planning. I go to Planning Commission meetings regularly and talk to some of the officials from time to time, but it's painful. They're nice enough people, but because I don't have a lot of experience and am a bit shaky on the lingo, I always feel like I sound...well not so bright. Let me ask, when speaking to the general public, is it very frustrating when you don't know the same language so to speak, or is it really not a big deal?

  7. #7
    Cyburbian
    Registered
    Dec 2006
    Location
    midwest
    Posts
    2,822
    Quote Originally posted by D/M View post
    Let me ask, when speaking to the general public, is it very frustrating when you don't know the same language so to speak, or is it really not a big deal?
    The general public speak a language called HUH?!!!!!

    This does not mean they are stupid. Few people have long attention spans. Get to the point. Don't litter your presentations with a string of 10 cent words because most people will be confused or just loose interest. I would recommend reading Planning in Plain English.

    Approaching planning professionals with confidence requires practice. I feel very confident when presenting, but my biggest problem is still eye contact. I look at people when I speak but tend to look slightly above their eyes and my mentor has pointed that out on more than one occassion. Know what you are going to say and BREATHE. A fast heart beat can be detected more easily than a pin drop in a quiet room.
    I would recommend reading Successful Public Meetings.

  8. #8
    Cyburbian Veloise's avatar
    Registered
    May 2004
    Location
    Grand Rapids, Michigan (Detroit ex-pat since 2004)
    Posts
    4,910
    Quote Originally posted by D/M View post
    ... I go to Planning Commission meetings regularly and talk to some of the officials from time to time, but it's painful. They're nice enough people, but because I don't have a lot of experience and am a bit shaky on the lingo, I always feel like I sound...well not so bright. ...
    Keep in mind that planning commissioners aren't planners. Typical planning board includes someone from real estate, a retiree, a housewife, a planner who works for another jurisdiction and lives in this one, couple business owners...

    I like writing thoughts on message boards because the long words come out on-screen just fine, and eventually they come out of my mouth. (Earlier today I typed "mitigation.")

    You could ask questions about the subject projects (oooh, look, you got me started!) and let them do the talking.

+ Reply to thread

More at Cyburbia

  1. Networking/conversations
    Career Development and Advice
    Replies: 1
    Last post: 30 Dec 2010, 3:37 PM
  2. Is networking effective?
    Career Development and Advice
    Replies: 17
    Last post: 17 Jun 2010, 5:35 PM
  3. Replies: 14
    Last post: 03 Feb 2008, 8:33 PM
  4. Networking in Tampa?
    Student Commons
    Replies: 0
    Last post: 26 Oct 2006, 2:03 PM
  5. Networking Groups
    Friday Afternoon Club
    Replies: 4
    Last post: 15 Feb 2005, 5:40 PM