Three Gifts For a 20-Something: What Do You Have In Your Back Pocket? The Art of Connecting

What three “gifts” would you give a 20-something if you were a “Forty-Godmother”? Here 40-somethings share three wishes to help a 20-something get a head start on the confidence to make decisions that are right for them (not their parents, friends, teachers or society). No more woulda, coulda, shoulda. 

The people around you are your future network.

I teach a continuing education class at NYU on events management. One of the first things I tell the students is to look around. Look around at each other because these are the people that you’re going to be working with. These are the people that you’re going to be connecting with. These are the people you are going to be doing business in the future They are all important. Don’t minimize people around you because you don’t know where life is going to take them. Maybe you don’t think what they are doing doesn’t mean all that much right this minute, but you have to think ten steps ahead about what they could be. Think ahead and get that in your back pocket.


Learn the art of the follow up with those ahead of you.

Every time I have speakers from the industry in, I ask the class afterward how many of them thanked the speaker. I rarely get a response. They’re not getting that the speakers that I introduce to the class are a connection. I teach them it’s important to follow up. It’s as simple as saying, “Hey that was great. I really loved when you talk about that. This is what I’ve learned.” It’s is a great way of connecting because people love to know they made an impact and it would give them something to remember a person by should their paths cross again.

Be sincere and honest about where you are in your career.

People can read through the BS. And nobody wants that. No one wants to deal with somebody who is full of sh*t.  When you meet people who are sincere about what they do and you and see they really want to work and are excited, you feel endeared to work with them. Be honest. You want to be confident and show your ambition, but don’t feel insecure about where you are or pretend to be what you’re not. When I first started going into these networking parties, I would walk up to people and tell them that I just started. I really want to get into the business and I’m looking to learn. I’m trying this. I’m trying that. You’d be surprised if people appreciate it and actually want to help.

— 40-something, running own wedding planning business for 20 years, adjunct professor NYU Stern, board member.


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