That was something said at a recent event where PMO practitioners had come together to collaborate on a new initiative.
It’s true, we see lots of POOs and POTs (PMOs of One and Two) and it can feel a little lonely sometimes. Even larger PMO teams can feel isolated from the rest of the delivery organisation too.
That was one of the main drivers for PMO Flashmob – to get people together from different and diverse places so that they could say:
“I’m not alone; all these people here are also just like me.”
Networking in PMO
There are other reasons, of course, for networking in PMO:
- To broaden your knowledge of the PMO function and other related disciplines.
- To gain a greater depth of understanding of PMO by connecting with specialists in the field.
- See how others tackle their work.
- To raise your profile.
- To facilitate your career progression within or outside an organisation or profession.
- To share what you know with other people.
- Because you find it more satisfying to work collaboratively rather than alone.
- And it’s a great way to unburden yourself and have a moan occasionally with people that just get it.
Over the years at PMO Flashmob, we’ve also seen people grow in confidence – literally become different people as they use the support group mentality of PMO Flashmob to try out new things.
I’ll let you into a little secret – I hated the idea of networking earlier in my career, I was a little shy, tended to scuttle in and sit at the back waiting for a presentation to begin rather than hover around chatting to people. I still feel like doing that sometimes, but what better way to overcome that than set up a networking group!
Here’s what I’ve learnt over the years with PMO Flashmob and how to take the plunge and also get the most out of it.
Getting into PMO Networking
- Just walk in and take a deep breath – trust me; it’ll be fine. You come to PMO Flashmob and no-one is going to leave you standing at the door.
- If you really can’t do it alone – come with someone else first, but don’t stick together all night. Gain confidence from each other and split up and go and chat to someone new.
- It’s always easier to break into a group of three people who are already chatting – just go up, deep breath again and say “can I join you?”
- It’s an easy conversation at PMO Flashmob – we’re all there because of PMO, so the first question is nearly always, “what kind of PMO are you working in?” quickly followed up with “what type of job do you do?” After that, you’re flying.
- Push yourself to do something you’ve not done before – it’s like getting up to sing at the karaoke, everyone dreads it but once you’ve done it, you’ll be wrestling the mic off everyone. Incidentally we had a PMO Karaoke Night a few years back and eventually got EVERYONE up to sing – even those that would rather poke their eye with a sharp stick. Sometimes you just have to try – and the PMO Flashmobbers are a really supportive bunch.
- Volunteer to share your story – in front of everyone. Yup, public speaking. IN. FRONT.OF. EVERYONE. It’s a great place to do it – we’re all rooting for you.
- Make sure you connect with people – not just a new Linkedin buddy but someone you feel comfortable emailing or meeting up for coffee. We get this a lot because people may physically work near each other or have a type of PMO in common. Whatever it is, cultivate this. It’s these types of connections you’ll have throughout your career regardless of where you’re working. They’re worth their weight in gold.
- Tell people about what you’re doing – tell people at work that you’re spending some of your free time networking, tell them why you’re doing it and what you’re getting out of it. You’ll be surprised how people start to view you a little differently, like you’re suddenly all professional and really care about your career and your job. Strange we know but try it and you’ll see what we mean.
- And share what you’re doing on social media too – so your wider connections can see what you’re into and what you’ve been up to. You might be surprised to hear from some connections you’ve not heard from in a while – just because you’re sharing and they want to know more about it.
I network for several different reasons – the main one is because I want to keep learning about stuff and it’s great when you meet someone you know knows stuff you’re interested in and are really enthusiastic and passionate about it. You’ll only ever meet them if you go out there and try. I think I can say my whole career and the opportunities that have come my way have been through the people I know, met in lots of different and diverse places.
Sure, along the way there were a few arrogant and ignorant people – or I would beat myself up for saying the wrong thing but mostly, people are actually rather nice and most are also feeling a little shy at an event where we’re supposed to network. We’re all human at the end of the day.
Anyway, you now know where to come to get your networking fix in PMO – cue the music from ‘Cheers’