I found some time at the end of the Military Libraries Division Networking Breakfast to sit and listen to the flow of a dozen conversations,
watching people greet old friends and make new connections. The energy of the room was wonderful – friendly, focused, and full of hope for new opportunities.
People started arriving at the room by 7:15 for a 7:30 announced start, and the room was nearly full by 7:45! Some folks came, ate, chatted a bit, and left, while others drifted from table to table, joining the ongoing stories or listening in.
What makes these networking breakfasts work so well for casual conversations that go beyond “where are you from” and “what do you do”? Having attended these for nearly ten years, and watched the planning for a few, I see that there are several ingredients that make these successful:
- Arrange for a sponsor, and invite their representatives to join us
- Provide a good, hot breakfast
- Invite students and first-timers, who have great questions and experiences to share
- Invite candidates for the SLA Board, who want to listen to what SLA members have to say
- Invite all attendees, as people have great stories to tell and thoughts to share
- Add a sprinkling of Military Libraries Division members, to welcome people in and to encourage conversations
By 9:30, most people are done eating, and the conversations keep flowing long past our announced end time. I often stand at the door to thank people for coming, and many of our guests thank us for hosting these, and for giving them the opportunity to sit down and talk to their colleagues. I’m looking forward to seeing people again at the next DMIL Networking Breakfasts, in Boston in June 2015.
Michael Moore, Past DMIL Chair
Note: Special thanks to IEEE and ProQuest for sponsoring the breakfasts.