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Practical Tips on Effective Networking – From the Small Museums Luncheon

It’s been three weeks since I returned from the Annual Meeting, and I still haven’t caught up with my work! (Hmmm…Maybe someone can write a blog about dealing with backlogs…)

Kent Whitworth, CEO of Kentucky Historical Society and Small Museum Luncheon speaker, at a podium dressed in a chef's hat and jacket

Kent Whitworth dresses as a chef to remind us of what NOT to do when networking: Do not try to be someone you are not.

Kent Whitworth, CEO of the Kentucky Historical Society, not only gave attendees at the Small Museums Luncheon great networking advice; he brought us bourbon balls. We can’t share candy here, but we can pass along Kent’s basic tips for effective networking:

  • Be yourself. People sense when you aren’t comfortable in your skin. Don’t try to be a glad-hander or a back-slapper, if you aren’t one. If you’re sincere, your passion for your work and your museum radiates out to your listener.
  • Carry the tools of your trade. Business cards, brochures, flyers and even images on your phone don’t take much physical space, but the social dividend is priceless. Share what your organization offers, so people can contact you later.
  • It’s about both of you. Focus on what someone says, not on what you’re going to say next. When you learn what’s important to that person, you’re better able to help them. Your goal is to create long-lasting, ever-expanding partnerships.
  • Be a good storyteller. Stories help people remember you and your organization.
  • Enthusiasm is infectious. Remember those special teachers whose passion inspired you? Pass it on!

Do you have your own suggestions for creating networks? If so, please share them with us.

We offer our hearty thanks to Kent, and to the luncheon ambassadors – Laura Casey, Carol Harsh, Tamara Hemmerlein, Paul Katz, Janice Klein, Maggie Marconi, and Megan Van Frank – who facilitated conversations during the luncheon and beyond.

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