Also published in the Boston Business Journal here.
It was rainy, cold, and windy -- in other words, a typical spring day in New England. There were roughly 20 of us huddled in a trailer in a parking lot. The group was made up of parents and teenage children.
We were getting ready to learn, test, and challenge ourselves at Stevens Skid School. The idea was to make us better drivers and more prepared for unexpected situations.
We went through a variety of exercises -- from emergency stops, to the slalom, to participating in a mock tailgating drill. Statistics show that first-year drivers have a 40 percent accident rate. Graduates of this course have significantly fewer accidents.
When I got in the car, my instructor ordered me to "floor it." I gladly obliged. We were getting closer and closer and closer to a set of orange cones. "Brake!" he exclaimed. And brake I did. Much to my racing heart's delight, when I opened my eyes the cones were neatly lined up in front of the car, unscathed.
Next we did the slalom, switching back and forth between the cones while increasing our speed. Then we combined the two exercises, turning and then stopping, which people typically do when trying to avoid an accident. But it doesn't work -- the vehicle usually skids and may even rollover. We practiced what to do instead.
All of this got me to thinking: "Am I prepared if my networking hits the skids? Do I have the skills I need? Am I prepared for an emergency? How do I avoid a rollover?"
Here are my takeaways:
It is never too late to learn, but learning is easier if you start early. While being a life-long learner is important, I wish I had learned some of these skills earlier in my driving career.
Remember, whom you know may get you started, but how you proceed is the key to long-term success.
Networking for Career Success shows professionals how to enhance their careers through effective networking. It covers everything from basics of networking to targeted techniques for making a career change, funding a new business venture, adding clients, and more.