The HUGE part of high school education that is missing… Teaching students how to build their network.
Last Friday I met with one of the founders, David Douglas, of Yolobe Inc. at 1871 in Chicago. It was a great meeting. A student of mine (Matt S.) actually left school early to meet with him before I did. It was a great lesson to Matt and I on many levels.
Last Friday was the last day of school before spring break. While many students were trying to leave school to go home or on trips, Matt had left school early. He didn’t leave early to get a head start on his break or to skip school. He left to meet a David to network and learn more about it. Matt put a suit on and drove into Chicago in major traffic on a Friday afternoon just to expand his network. To me, Matt is an amazing student. He is driven to succeed. Matt knows it takes hard work, taking risks and facing failures to succeed.
"Matt put a suit on and drove into Chicago in major traffic on a Friday afternoon just to expand his network."
By the time I had arrived, Matt and David had already talked for an hour about Matt’s project and meeting major players in the industry including a co-founder of 1871. Matt was beaming with excitement. I couldn’t help thinking of all the other students missing this moment. Do students even understand this type of networking is possible let alone essential? Do they know this hard work and persistence is going to catapult Matt into the ranks of professionals? Do they even care?
"Do students even understand this type of networking is possible let alone essential?"
As I met with David, Matt stayed with us. It was great having a student with me while I was learning about David’s business. What better way to show a student how to network than to have them actually do it… without the teacher! It was a powerful lesson. After the meeting, Matt and I chatted outside. We were both beaming with optimism. We both shared a successful networking meeting that will definitely open new opportunities for both of us. As we parted ways, I told Matt how proud I was of him. He told me to have a great break and went off to his car.
"What better way to show a student how to network than to have them actually do it… without the teacher!"
As I rode the L home, I thought about better ways new ways to teach our students to network. In my own experiences in high school and college, networking was not something I really understood. I certainly didn’t know the power of it. I am about to change that for current students now!