Networking Is Fashionable Again

June 7, 2011 2 Comments

By Allen F. Weitzel

Hello again. Thanks for reading and sharing your thoughts. I look forward to your comments, suggestions and ideas. After reading, please let us know your networking ideas and success stories. I will be sure to respond.

Network, Network, Network

The “Networking” phrase had become a tired business cliché until the explosion of social Web sites such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and the like. Now, the business world has been re-energized with the concept of staying in touch with fellow professionals.

Is Networking Important?

Networking is valuable. You and your fellow professionals can share experiences, education, tips and tricks. When a similar problem or new regulation that affects all facilities comes along, professionals can easily make contact to discuss and clarify their understanding of it. Networking with other facilities and experts is vital to improving your operations and staying current.

Just Starting?

Besides Internet sites, you can stay in touch with professionals by joining industry organizations, attending seminars, conventions and luncheons where you can meet industry experts as well as your counterparts. Volunteering to be part of association committees and boards also puts you in touch. When asked to introduce yourself at such events, always add your title or job function to your introduction. Someone may approach you later on and ask for more details. Then you can swap contact information.

Staying Connected

The secret to networking is to stay in touch with your contacts. As a writer and trainer, I share notices about my writing projects or tips on training. I let my contacts know that they are not required to respond, but it keeps our networking alive. If you are seeking information from a colleague, it should not be a one-way street. Be willing to share data if you want to receive data in return. When one of your counterparts leaves a facility, contact the new replacement, and introduce yourself. Invite counterparts to bring their family to your facility for a day of fun.

Other Networking Sources

Many facilities have their own Facebook and Twitter Web pages. You cannot help but network on these sites. You will receive comments from counterparts, and customers alike. It is easy to respond and stay in touch.

You, no doubt, know the name of a professional who seems to know everyone and every resource in your industry. Make an effort to become acquainted with them through network sources. This person could be vital to you when confronted with a concern that seems insurmountable. Be sure you maintain this vital relationship.

Ask your suppliers to introduce you to other professionals, to broaden your circle of contacts.

One other principle counterpart is your own personal mentor, that professional whom you can call and ask those little “almost embarrassing,” simple, or silly questions.

Volunteer to speak at local high schools and colleges for career days. This might appear to be a one-way street, but sometimes you get lucky and meet folks with whom you can network and learn a few tricks. You might also attract some very good potential employees who might not otherwise have thought about seeking employment in your facility.

Do not ignore networking with the local police and fire departments. You should know them as well as they know you. They can be a valuable source of safety information for your facility.

Networking really does lead to success. One of my best networking results was when I met an industry counterpart at our annual convention. He talked me into joining the IAAPA Safety Committee. As a committee member, we were required to write industry articles. I wrote quite a few commentaries, and as a result, editors from other venues contacted me to write for their periodicals.

Remember, “It is not always what you know, sometimes it is who you know.” Let us know your networking success stories!

Allen F. Weitzel has spent 45 seasons in the recreation field and is safety and training manager at a California amusement park.

Back
2 Comments to “Networking Is Fashionable Again”
  1. Jim English says:

    You’re still looking good. Must be the air!

    • Well, Jim English – as I live and breathe. We are pleased to have the consummate maintenance professional (and great Chopper Pilot) join our group. Great to hear from you. Working with employees keeps me feeling young, and the fresh air does not hurt. Thanks for checking in. Best wishes, – Allen

Sponsors

Art Attack

Theming, miniature golf, parade floats, 3D props, air-brushed murals, signage and art panels.

Friedman Group Ins.

Insurance for amusement devices.

Adventure Golf

Miniature golf courses, consultants, architecture and design.

Safari Ltd.

Leading manufacturer of innovative educational toys.

Quik N' Crispy (QNC)

Quik n’ Crispy greaseless fryer.

Northeast Insurance (NIC)

Insurance programs.

Berk Paper & Supply

Concession supplies.

CFX Composite & Effects

Special effects make-up and prosthetics

Omega Carpets

Printed carpeting for all your facility needs.

Harris Miniature Golf Course

Design and construction of miniature golf courses and water rides.

Brunswick Bowling

Entertainment bowling center developer and manufacturer of bowling equipment and entertainment products.

Poly Products

Tables, benches and related products. Green products for a green world.

S&S Worldwide

Large Park amusement rides.

A'maze Ventures, Inc.

Mazes for every location, new and used.

Comstock - Castle Stove

Commercial cooking equipment.

American Changer

Bill and coin dispensers and counters, ticket machines and more.

See Coast Manufacturing Co., Inc.

Coin-operated binoculars and telescopes.

Castle Golf, Inc.

Planning, design and construction of miniature golf courses and family fun parks.

Wells Fargo

Commercial insurance for inflatables and event planners.

Max Flight

Manufactures interactive virtual reality motion-platform game systems including networkable flight and roller coaster simulators.

Mahoning Valley Mfg.

A complete line of Imperial strollers, wagons and safari utility vehicles.

Midway Concepts (Circus Tops)

Premier designers of stainless steel food service equipment.

European Body Arts

Airbrushed temporary tattoo products and systems.

Tokens Direct

A wide variety of tokens.

GloCones

Flashing cotton candy cones.

Center Edge Software

Facility Management Software Solutions

Flagship Carpet

Custom carpets and rugs.

Tube Pro

Waterpark tubes.

Lil Orbits Inc.

Food equipment, donut machines and vendor carts.

Perfect Fry

Innovative and simple-to-operate countertop deep fryer Perfect Fryers.

Extreme Engineering

Industry leader in zip lines, climbing walls, jumper systems and adventure products.

Martin Professionals

A lighting supplier of choice for the entertainment industry.

Store on Wheels

Importer and distributor of quality toys, lighting and novelties. Cater to the amusement, retail and entertainment industries.

Chestnut Identity Apparel

Uniform supply, embroidered apparel and flag manufacturing.

Hoffman Mint

Tokens, medals, coins and key tags.

Namco

Namco America is a premier manufacturer of coin-op arcade attractions, ranging from the hottest titles like Crazy Typhoon and Jumpin’ Jackpot to classic game-room experiences such as the Pac-Man 25th Anniversary upright that features Pac-Man, Ms. Pac-Man and Galaga. Specialized pieces such as Wonka Sweetland and Flamin Finger are favorites too! For arcade gaming fun, Namco America is your answer.

Klopp International, Inc. (Playmeter)

Quality coin counters and sorters.

California Portable Dance Floor Company

Water Wars (T&D Enterprises of Brainerd)

Water Wars water balloon game, portable or startionary.

Action Lighting Co.

Lighting supplies.

Deltronic Labs Inc.

Ticket dispensers.

Cost of Wisconson

Creators of simulated environments, duplicate structures, sculpted figures, exhibits, water features, mini-golf and more.

Funovation

Laser maze challenge

Look Solutions

Fog machines.

Xtreme Inflatables

Repair and service for all inflatable products.

Rio Syrup

Over 250 flavors, syrups and concentrates for shaved ice, sno cones, shushes, food colors. Now featuring Hawaiian Flower Cups.

Aquaventronics

Research and development of interactive water games for use in the commercial amusement industry.

Gerber Manufacturing, Ltd.

Outdoor furniture, benches, picnic tables and grills.

Spectrum
LMap Powered by Silvercrest
Premier Polysteel
Spectrum Sports
Cannonball Blaster
Funovation