I have discovered that volunteering at conferences is an excellent way to get yourself out there and network. As a volunteer at RIMPA’s inForum conference earlier this week, I got to meet those who work tireless behind the scenes of the professional association and those working in the records management industry.

Inside tip for newbies: Volunteering at the registration desk means everyone will see your face.

Though you may not be able to make deep connections at the registration desk, it can be a great conversation starter when you do start mingling.

RIMPA

In fact, this networking thing keeps coming up. The phrase “it’s not what you know but who,” really is relevant. Everywhere I turned at inForum 2015 people were encouraging me to ask questions, reach out and make connections. So I am very grateful I attended Ron Gibson’s talk on Networking and building networks for your success.

Ron told us that after initial contact, you have 82 days to continue the conversation before people are likely to forget you. I’d suggest an email or Skype conversation way before then! He also said that instead of being the one to talk about yourself all the time, you should try being the one to ask questions:

  1. How do you spend most of your time?
  2. What’s you biggest project?
  3. Outside of work, what do you like to do?

Questions like these can get a conversation going. You’ll also find the answers you get are ‘bigger’ than small talk and therefore more meaningful. Ron’s blog post 15 Questions For Your Business Networking Success has a couple more suggestions.

Another point Ron made, which I will certainly be taking on board, is ‘who is on your conversation list?’ A conversation list should contain people you want to keep in contact with. However, don’t be the person who only reaches out when you need something. When making (and sustaining) new connections always think about how you can help.

I also attended Bill Tolson’s talk about Dark Clouds on the Horizon. I felt vindicated when Bill talked about issues managing information within dark clouds (otherwise known as personal clouds), as it’s a topic covered by my course. Always good to know that what you are learning is relevant to the industry so kudos to Curtin University.  Bill provided us with reasons why dark clouds exist, most of these reasons I was already familiar with.

Slide from Bill's presentation.
Slide from Bill’s presentation.

I would love to see a solution to this issue in the next few years. Records and information management will become obsolete, as it currently stands if, steps are not taken to make our processes easier for users to understand and use themselves.

Speaking of challenges in the industry, in Kylie Welch’s workshop upskilling staff, we created a list of them.

Challenges Records Managers are facing in the industry now.
A list of challenges Record Managers feel they are currently facing.

What do you think? Can you add anything to the list? Or better yet, some solutions?

Upskilling means undertaking continuing professional development, an ideal that promotes taking responsibility for your own skills and career progression.  In her workshop Kylie helped us to think about what we need, then create our own workshop plan which would satisfy that need.

While I learned a lot about the trends and current topics being discussed in records management, I am also grateful to have been given the chance to make the connections I did. Thank you Kristen and Wendy for accepting me as a volunteer and Paula for taking me under wing. I look forward to helping out RIMPA in future.

Till next time!
DFTBA (Don’t Forget to be Awesome)

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