Thirty-three years ago, when I first entered technology sales (selling RAM chips, floppy disks and 10 MB hard drives), “networking” was all the rage.
I remember attending networking “happy hours” in the Denver-metro area where people in business attire were crammed shoulder to shoulder trying to accumulate as many business cards as possible to help grow their contact databases. As uncomfortable as those packed, noisy events made me feel at times, the rationale worked. I discovered that interacting with people inevitably leads to a network of others who can either buy from you or help you find people to buy from you.
What surprised me most was that there were strangers who gladly offered to help me become more successful at my job, and they were motivated simply by generosity. It didn’t cost me anything.
Since I was raised in a highly competitive family, the thought of a stranger assisting me to do my job better was foreign to me. Weren’t we, in some ways, competing in the same space? But what I discovered then – and have seen reinforced many times over the years – the vast majority of people we encounter in our chosen industry truly want to help others. Just as we’ve all found that the “gift is in the giving,” likewise building up someone else builds us up at the same time.
The MEP trades are full of those “giving” types of people. The electrician who taught me to wire a house was a colorful fellow, in both personality and language, but his heart was generous. The mechanical contractor who showed my dad and me how to build a plenum was a compassionate soul. Our plumber, who reminds me of Groucho Marx, is a great humanitarian.
I believe these are not exceptions to the rule. Trades contractors are by and large a friendly, helpful crowd. Here are three reasons why a networking and learning event like the upcoming virtual MEP Force 2020 especially benefits the MEP trades:
- You can derive value from others’ lessons learned:
- It’s eye-opening to discover how many of your industry peers experience the same challenges you do. How are they handling them?
- Even better, sometimes you can avoid making mistakes by hearing another person’s “beware” story.
- You will build your knowledge of technology trends. Since it seems like there’s some new technology tool every day, it’s extremely helpful to learn:
- What works, and what doesn’t?
- What’s the latest in prefabrication, industrialized construction and DfMA?
- What technology can make your life easier and is worth the investment?
- You and your peers can shape the industry:
- Few MEP innovators think of themselves as trendsetters. They are regular folks just like you trying to discover a workflow that can make the trades better. It empowers them to share those innovations with others.
- Hear firsthand about tips for advancing your skillset to make your daily workflows more efficient and more profitable.
The best thing I ever did for my career was to take advantage of the offers of help from generous peers who simply wanted to share their experience with me. While I had the option to take it or leave it, I chose to build a better future with the help of others’ advice. Over the decades, networking has benefitted me in ways that I never could have foreseen. Likewise, the upcoming virtual MEP Force networking and learning event will empower hundreds of trades professionals in ways they can’t even imagine.