The Visalia Young Professionals Network provides the next generation of professional Visalians with lasting connections and new opportunities.

5 Tricks to Becoming a Great Networker!
By: Kelsey Low, The Growth Coach Central Valley
For many, the idea of showing up to a place with the goal of meeting new people can be intimidating. I have heard so many people say “I had to force myself to come here” in regards to a networking event.
I am an extrovert at heart and love meeting other people. For most, networking can be intimidating and stressful. If you’re an introvert, this guide is going to help you become a great networker instead of an “Awkward-Annie”

1. Come with an open mind
Think about how you can be curious and discover things about other people. Networking is about connecting with other people. Come with the intention to learn about other people while simultaneously sharing about yourself. This is not an opportunity to show off and dominate every conversation. On the reverse, if someone asks you a question- be bold and confident about who you are and what you do. This is a time for connection not comparison or judgments.

2. Ask Questions!
The easiest thing for a person to talk about is themselves. Ask people about what they do. Ask people what they love about the community. Ask them what they want in 2019. If you’re feeling awkward- you can alleviate the awkwardness by asking them open-ended questions. (Open-ended questions cannot be answered with a “yes” or a “no”.

Be engaged with what they are saying. Really pay attention and ask follow up questions. Be present. Don’t be thinking about what you’re going to say next. Really be present in listening to other people. Most people think about themselves and miss key things. Maybe the person you’re talking to isn’t an ideal client but could know someone who is. Or maybe they could be your new best friend lol.
3. Be aware of Non Verbal Communication.
Some say communication is 20% words and 80% non-verbal communication. In all social situations, be aware of the non-verbal messages you are sending.
·          When someone is talking to you and really engaged in what you’re saying- their feet will be pointing towards you. If one or both feet are pointed away from you or they are leaning away- they are trying to get away. Take the cue and let them walk away. Easy as smiling and saying “enjoy the night”
·          Use eye contact. Networking is about connecting and the best way to do that is to look at someone in the eyes. It also shows your confidence in being able to listen and be attentive.
·          Try to avoid crossing your arms. This could non-verbally block people from approaching you because it gives a message that you are closed off.
·          The universal cue for noticing if someone is engaged in what you’re saying (or to show someone you’re engaged in what they are saying) is the raising of the eye brows. This little tip is more about you being aware of your own expressions. Raise your eye brows and nod your head when you want someone to know you’re engaged in what they are saying.

4. Don’t give everyone and their mom a business card .
Only give away business cards to people you make a deep connection with. Normally, 2-3 people in one networking event. If someone really wants to continue a conversation with you or if you get to the point of exchanging any information- then give a business card. But for every interaction, you don’t need to give them a card. For one, it takes you out of the present moment if you do. Secondly, think about how many business cards you’ve received and never done anything with except maybe add them to a mailing list? Save them for the true connections.

5. Be prepared to answer this question: What do you do?
People want to know, people are interested and also know the point of a networking event is to meet like-minded people and exchange business. Icing on the cake: say what you do and how you help people. Example: “I am a business coach and I help people use like experiences to grow in their career”
Gives the person a title and a more humanitarian view.

Don’t fire hydrant people about your services. Talk about what you care about and how you help and serve people or the community.
Just for Fun:
Flag Football Game
9:30 am
Saturday, December 22nd
Nazareen Church (Demaree & Caldwell)
Emerge Information Session
January 3rd
6:00 pm
Visalia Chamber Office, 222 N. Garden Street
Thursday, January 10th
5:30 pm
BarrelHouse Brewing
Saturday, January 12th
11:00 am
Plaza Park
Bring a friend and food to share
Winter Mixer
February 21, 2019
5:30 - 7:30 pm
Train Like A Girl - 1048 N. Marcin St.
Catered by Precision Prep
Featuring: ACT for Women & Girls
YPN Spotlight: ProYouth

ProYouth’s mission is to help youth succeed academically, socially, and emotionally by providing a safe, healthy, and supportive learning environment during out-of-school time. ProYouth creates and delivers programs throughout Central California that positively impact the lives of youth and equip them to make good life-long choices. ProYouth’s resources are currently dedicated to supporting the youth of our communities through the HEART (elementary), EDGE (middle school), and XL (high school) Expanded Learning Programs; Insight, a digital literacy and gang prevention program; and Pathways which include STEM and literacy intervention and development. We have developed strong partnerships with the education community, the private sector, public agencies and nonprofit organizations at the national, state, and local levels. We are widely recognized as one of the most outstanding and innovative expanded learning organizations in California.

What are some things you are doing in our community?

In 1998, ProYouth launched the HEART (Health, Enrichment, Academics, Recreation, Teamwork) Expanded Learning Program, serving 220 students at three school sites in Visalia. Since then, ProYouth has grown to annually serve over 15,000 students at 45 schools throughout the Central California communities of Earlimart, Exeter, Farmersville, Goshen, Ivanhoe, King City, Kingsburg, Orosi, Porterville, Strathmore, Traver, Tulare, Visalia, and Woodville. Each year, we serve over 600,000 meals to the youth of our communities. In the 25 years since its inception, ProYouth has served 100,000 students and their families. We have brought more than $95 million to low-income neighborhoods throughout Tulare County and provided meaningful jobs for more than 4,800 local residents. The ProYouth Board of Directors promotes expanded learning and parent programs and raises funds to support the administration of the $7.8 million in afterschool and other grants from foundations, corporations, and community groups who believe in the values and success our programs deliver to children and families.

3. How can Young Professionals Help?
·          Marketing and community outreach/education
·          Recruitment of students and staff and referrals for Board Directors
·        Volunteers: There are opportunities for community members to get involved at all levels of Program—from helping to coordinate culminating events at the elementary school sites to mentoring/coaching middle school and high school students in college and career readiness and financial literacy. Those interested in volunteering can contact Teresa Ramos at for more information.
We Recommend ...
Visalia Chamber of Commerce and Groppetti Automotive Family announce Fresno State Football Alumni David Carr and Executive Leadership Coach Justin Patton as keynote speakers for the 2019 Impact Leadership Conference. 
Justin Patton, International Speaker and Executive Coach will be the first keynote speaker at the first Annual Impact Leadership Conference, hosted by the Visalia Chamber of Commerce on March 21, 2019 at the Visalia Convention Center. Justin has traveled the globe working with top Fortune 500 organizations coached NCAA athletes and contestants in the Miss America/Miss USA organization and is releasing his first leadership book Bold New You in January 2019. 
David Carr, former Fresno State Football and NFL Superbowl Champion will be the afternoon keynote speaker at the Impact Leadership Conference. Carr will share leadership lessons he’s learned at Fresno State University, in the National Football League and now as a commentator on the NFL Network. As a Fresno State Football player, Carr won the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award and the Sammy Baugh Trophy, additionally his Fresno State #8 jersey was retired in September 2007. Carr was chosen as the 1 st overall pick in the 2002 NFL Draft, and he went on to win the Super Bowl Championship in 2011 with the New York Giants. After retiring from the NFL Carr and his brother Derek opened Carr Elite in Bakersfield, CA. Carr is a regular contributing Football Analyst for NFL Network. 
Citizen Involvement and the City of Visalia
A new year is just around the corner and with it brings new opportunities to get involved in the community.

Visalia City committees and commissions serve in an advisory capacity for the City Council. Each is different, but they all receive public concerns, review policies and regulations, provide valuable insight and are instrumental to the public process. By serving on a City advisory committee or commission, you can help plan Visalia's future, as these committees and commissions are making recommendations that affect life in Visalia. Currently, there are vacancies on the Citizens Advisory Committee, the Environmental Committee, the Transit Advisory Committee, the Waterways and Trails Committee, the Disability Advocacy Committee, the Historic Preservation Committee, the North Visalia Neighborhood Advisory Committee, and the Parks & Recreation Commission.

The Visalia City Clerk’s office is continually accepting applications, which are kept on file for a period up to two-years. As vacancies occur, applications are submitted to the respective Committees for interviews & recommendation then to the Citizens Advisory Committee for final review, final selections are then presented to the City Council for approval. Those appointed can serve up to three two-year terms for Committees or four two-year terms for Commissions.

City of Visalia committees and commissions are comprised of folks who have come together to help make a difference and keep Visalia thriving. For more information, visit, contact the City Clerk’s office at 713-4512 or email
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