Super glad you arrived! Let me share with you the How to Guide to Crush the V2I Virtual Networking Circuits.
What is VETS2INDUSTRY?
VETS2INDUSTRY is a Nationwide Nonprofit providing a FREE continuously updated single site repository of all of the FREE resources, benefits, and information available for currently serving Active/Guard/Reserve members, veterans in transition and beyond, military spouses, dependent children, Gold Star family members, caregivers, and industry professionals seeking information on the benefits of hiring those individuals.
Along with providing a free living website at vets2industry.org, the V2I volunteer force is comprised of over 100 volunteers (and growing every day) of those same demographics, dedicated to not only providing knowledge of all the FREE resources available and the 45,000+ Veteran Service Organizations out there, but we also proactively seek out the military community and dedicate thousands of hours to mentoring, guiding, making connections, and supporting the military community to land successfully post service and achieve any life need support they need (usually without them knowing it exists for them).
Are there OTHER SERVICES?
Well I’m glad you asked! On March 10th, smack at the start of when events around the country for events getting cancelled due to COVID-19, I was attending a Bunker Labs event in Atlanta featuring the amazing Michael Coles, founder of the Great American Cookie Company. During that event, I learned of yet another event I was scheduled to attend to help transitioning service members getting canceled that had been scheduled for 2 days later.
After arriving home at 1 am, completely disturbed at the news that yet again, the 2nd event in 2 weeks dedicated to transition veterans was cancelled, the decision hit me that COVID would not stop the immediacy in need for our service members transitioning to get in front of business leaders, veteran advocates, and recruiters in order to network their way to a smooth transition so they don’t become part of the 22 whom kills themselves a day, unemployed, underemployed, on substance abuse, homeless, divorced, or incarcerated. These situations happen when a person does not have HOPE!
At 1:00 am that night, the VETS2INDUSTRY Virtual Networking Circuit Event concept was formed.
HOW DOES IT WORK?
As of the writing of this article 17 May, the 3rd VETS2INDUSTRY Virtual Networking Circuit Event will commence later this day. The event is OPEN for 5 hours, but is not a structured event where people have to come at the start and stay the whole time (THIS IS BY DESIGN).
1. The start of the event is a Welcome address by myself thanking the attendees consisting of all the above mentioned military community and also recruiters, hiring managers, business professionals, business owners, and C-suite personnel. The thank you address continues with a 7 minute introduction to VETS2INDUSTRY and what it offers, and the introduction of the Keynote Speaker.
2. After the 7 minute Welcome address and introduction, the Keynote speaker spends 10 minutes covering a topic that is of value to all demographics in attendance, followed by a 10-minute Question and Answer portion open to the 250 attendees of the virtual event.
3. After the Keynote speech and Q&A, the rules of engagement for the event are explained, and just prior to the event starting, recruiters with open jobs, business owners, company execs are offered the opportunity to take 30 seconds to explain what company they represent a short explanation of the company and some example roles they are hiring for. Then the start of the networking event occurs.
4. Each attendee is randomly sent to 1 of over 30 breakout rooms consisting of 7-8 attendees, with VETS2INDUSTRY volunteers in attendance in most of the rooms to assist and answer questions as needed.
5. Once attendees are in the breakout room they have 25-minutes of circuit networking with that specific group. Each attendee must then give their 30-45 second elevator pitch and then the floor is open to building relationships and finding synergy among each-other. It has proven to be a very effective format/structure.
6. In the waning 5-minutes and 1-minute of the 25-minute session, attendees receive a warning message that the rooms will automatically close and they will be returned to the main lobby for the 7-minute intermission before being again randomized and sent to their next 25-minute breakout group.
7. The intermission consists of me introducing any company’s, non-profits, or recruiters that have not spoken, and provides an opportunity for attendees to attend to personal needs before the next session starts.
8. This continues until the final 45-minutes of the event. At 15-minutes after the start of the last hour, all participants are brought back into the main lobby and a closing comment is provided by me, and then the floor is open (through the Main chat box) for any questions relating to transitioning, questions that came up through new knowledge acquired during the event, questions about corporate culture/hiring practices/negotiation/or any other relevant questions. At the bottom of the hour, the event concludes and all comments that were put in the Main chat box are saved as a transcript to be sent out to each attendee in the Post event package that gets emailed out.
9. POST EVENT: All attendees are provided a link to the Post Survey during the Welcoming and at the conclusion of the event. This link offers them the opportunity to provide their LinkedIn URL to those they wish to have follow up and connect with them after the event for business opportunities, fill of job roles, landing careers, continuing friendships formed, follow up questions on services provided, to connect with suggested contacts not in attendance, sign up for services, and so much more potential opportunities/benefits.
10. VETS2INDUSTRY finalizes the Post event by emailing all attendees from email@example.com (THIS WILL MOST LIKELY GO TO YOUR SPAM or PROMOTIONS GMAIL BOX) a link to the entire Main Lobby Welcome address, and every 7 minute intermission recording, the full list of LinkedIn URL’s from the Pre and Post survey that people opted to share with all attendees, and the FULL TRANSCRIPT (Main breakout room only) for the entire 5 hours of the Event being open.
SO HOW DO I MAXIMIZE the BREAKOUT GROUPS?
I have created a best practice cheat for those attending this event. Lets be honest, there is no way you will remember every name and what everyone does during the event…So how do you maximize the breakout groups and organize your desired followups?
HERE IS YOUR CHEAT SHEET
1. Ensure at the start of the event you have a Notepad and a couple pens handy. When each person speaks during the Main Lobby and in each breakout group, write their name down based on how their “GO BY NAME in quotes” and their actual name based on their attendee name.
2. After you write down their name, you listen to their elevator pitch and write down key phrases about who they are, what they do, and potential benefit to you or where you may feel you can help them.
3. You then can place an Asterisk by their name, Plus symbol, or Minus symbol. Feel free to change these as the 25 minute conversation continues.
4. What are the symbols for?
- An Asterisk you place next to each name that you spoke to during the group and/or REALLY WANT TO connect with after the event. Potentially you even formed a friendship.
- A PLUS symbol (+) is put next to the name of anyone YOU FEEL COULD BE a BENEFIT to YOUR NETWORK either for YOURSELF or for a CONNECTION (fellow vet, business partner, spouse…etc).
- A MINUS symbol (-) is put next to the name of anyone that doesn’t SEEM to immediately have a synergy with your network, HOWEVER, do not discount these individuals because there will most undoubtedly be things that you could find out through connecting with them that could be mutually beneficial. These people would be the last you connect with after the event, if you so desire. They may also reach out to you because they feel you would be beneficial to someone in THEIR network even if not for themselves…SO DO NOT DISCOUNT these connections.
5. Once you receive the POST EVENT email from firstname.lastname@example.org ensure you open the LinkedIn URL file and then using your cheat sheet shown below, you can find the LinkedIn URL of the individuals with Asterisks. You will send all of these people a PERSONALIZED INVITATION (DO NOT JUST CONNECT WITH THEM without sending a message). This message should include at least one fact about what they spoke about that moved you to want to connect. EXAMPLE:
- Scott, it was wonderful meeting you at the V2I virtual networking event. We were in Group 4 together. I truly enjoyed your thoughts on COVID and how it is impacting our mutual industry in supply chain. Would love to continue engaging with you.
6. You will do this for each ASTERISK. For each Plus, you will request a connection also through personalized message and say something along the line:
- Leslie, it was wonderful meeting you at the V2I virtual networking event. I unfortunately didn’t get a chance to meet you in a group, but I heard you discuss a list of employers that were current’y hiring across the country. Would love to connect with you to learn more about that and get to know you better.
7. Any minus is up to you to connect with or not, but be mindful that many of your minus’s may reach out to connect to you and depending on their ask, it really could be mutually beneficial to allow them in your network because you will be helping someone else. You could have been their ASTERISK!!
Here is a picture of how your notepad could look after a couple group breakouts:
STAY TUNED FOR OUR NEXT NETWORKING EVENT on 6 JUNE 2020!!! More info to follow and tons of V2I Announcements will be released during the 3rd VETS2INDUSTRY Virtual Networking Circuit Event and throughout the next few weeks. Remember EVERY 3 weeks there is a new NETWORKING CIRCUIT!! Mark your calendars and join the VETS2INDUSTRY LINKED GROUP to learn how to register and gain more knowledge at https://www.linkedin.com/groups/13834928/
Article was originally posted on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/how-guide-crush-v2i-virtual-networking-circuits-m-s-mba-candidate/