Guest Blog from Karena DeSouza

Have you ever needed something, but didn’t know who to ask, or where to begin, to get that information? With six degrees of separation, the prize could be lurking even closer than you know! At the inaugural HAPPEN @ Night event in Mississauga, on Wednesday April 9, 2014 that message came across loud and clear.

Created by Paul Hill (career coach, motivational speaker and author of The Panic Free Job Search) and hosted by the Mississauga chapter of HAPPEN, this event encourages successfully placed professionals to keep their networking muscles toned.  The evening teamed networking with a thought-provoking and engaging presentation from LinkedIn’s recruiting specialist Perry Monaco.  He focused on how LinkedIn is stretching further into the world of connecting, networking and knowledge sharing – continually evolving functionality as it looks ‘to create economic opportunity for every professional WORLDWIDE’ – a ‘moon shot’ if ever there was one.

Networking in person can be a daunting task, even for the most seasoned professional.  It involves asking for something for yourself.  Asking for something for someone else however?  That brings out the best in us all!  In a variation on many party mixers, Paul designed a game to encourage the 50+ attendees to meet and mingle with as many of the attendees as possible.  Each person wrote down something they really wanted on a bright pink card, then partnered with a new contact in the room.  This partner now became an Ambassador – their only job that evening to represent you to everyone they met, and get you as many contacts, names or ideas that could get you a step closer to your goal.

It is amazing how successful many of us are in the role of advocate for someone else’s cause … and how willing others are to step forward with possible ideas and names.  I have been fielding a number of calls from attendees who received my name and number.  It was refreshing to figure out how to solve someone else’s problem for a change.  The hunt to see if we could return to our partner with a hand full of contacts reminded us that we still have those elusive skills!  Being able to offer support, contacts or ideas on obtuse requests reminded us just how much we sometimes know that can be valuable to other people.

While most requests entered around career goals, growth and aspirations, one stood out –

‘A list of motor cycle trips within a day’s ride of Toronto’ – Isn’t it funny how many people you happen (pun intended) to know who also cannot wait for the weather to improve so they can once again take to the open road?!

Sometimes, all you have to do is …  ASK.