One of the reasons why I’ve never quite felt comfortable in
networking-focused events is that the value proposition of a student
is hard to define. Deal-oriented people will probably overlook me
because I can’t offer them immediate value. What can I offer people?
What’s my value proposition?
I don’t have much business experience yet, and as geeky as I can be
sometimes, I’m not as into technology as are people I know. Why should
people want to spend time with me?
I’m a student, a wannabe, an apprentice of life. Right now, I can’t
really offer anything. No, that’s not entirely true. I bring my
comfort with technology, my experience of being alien (in a good way),
my passion and enthusiasm and peace. Perhaps I also offer people an
opportunity to pay back their own mentors for all the opportunities
they’ve received, too.
It’s silly of me to doubt life, considering how I’ve been so, so, so
lucky in the past. At conferences and conventions, I’ve always managed
to sit beside or otherwise discover people who totally inspire me. I
don’t deserve any of the breaks, but I should learn how to make the
most of them so that I can share the benefits with other people.
I’m hungry for more knowledge, more learning, more connections. I’m
excited and interested and alive. Maybe that’s my value proposition
for now – not that I’m some subject matter expert or anything, but
that I’m curious. I should learn how to ask good questions and how to
get to the heart of things. I also want to learn how to tell stories
and write articles and books…
Other things: Hmm… I need to know who’s who. Note to self: add
business magazines to my weekly diet. That’s what access to the
university library and the dorm reading room gets me. And I _should_
take advantage of the library. We have access to all these journals
and educational resources that businesses don’t have. I should take
advantage of that! Maybe that’s part of the value I offer, too.
I can take risks. I can spend time learning about something that
eventually pans out. I can try different things and get to know
different people. Maybe that’s part of it, too.
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