This week was the ISM Business Symposium, during which I spoke with several professionals both outside of my field of study and outside of my network. While being interviewed by and networking with them, I gained new insight on interacting in the professional world.
Firstly, the magnitude of appreciation that professionals have for young people practicing professionalism today made itself apparent. In three fifteen minute interviews, all three of my interviewers commented on how grateful they were that a program like ISM exists locally ; they loved that it focuses solely on gaining professional experience and preparation for the real world. I could tell simply by speaking with the professionals for the first time how genuinely impressed and appreciative they were that face-to-face interaction in the business world has not gone extinct among millennials after all.
Additionally, I took note of more specific aspects of communication skills necessary to success in the professional world- in particular, boldness. Having the confidence to approach a stranger of both greater age and higher status than you, and being unafraid of the outcome of engaging them in conversation, is absolutely crucial to success. At first, I was timid, and frankly afraid, to take 100% initiative and introduce myself to a professional. After networking with a few of them in small groups, I gained more confidence and eventually realized that there was nothing to be afraid of. In the business world, it never hurts to simply make yourself known. No harm can come from trying to expand your network and learn more, but it can come from shying away from a potentially beneficial opportunity.