Steven Davis

From Acorns to Mighty Oaks

Welcome to the blog for the BYU-Idaho Student and Alumni Network.  On November 12, 1888 Jacob Spori declared "The seeds we are planting today will grow and become mighty oaks and their branches will run all over the earth."   Over the past 123 years, nearly 200,000 alumni have become "mighty oaks" all over the world.  And, each year thousands of new students will be planted as new acorns at BYU-Idaho.

Our goal is to create opportunities for our students to network and connect with alumni who have the capacity to make a difference in their lives.   Our Alumni can also draw upon our talented students who have up-to-date skills, especially in emerging technologies.

At BYU-Idaho Alumni, we are "Linking Students and Alumni for Good."


The Number One Rule in Networking 1 Comment

Friday, January 06 2012 11:47:35 AM

The Number One Rule in Networking - Get What You Need and Build a Lasting Relationship
BY KW Norris, BYU-Idaho Mentor

Before exercising your "Me in 30 Seconds" or any other specific or general networking instructions, consider the Number One Rule in Networking: Give Before You Ask.

Offer your services, a referral, a reference or simply ask "what can I do for you". This approach requires that you know something of the other individual, which probably requires some discussion with him or her or some research if it can be done prior to your meeting with a contact. In essence, you need to build a meaningful relationship first. Yes, I am saying you need to focus attention on the person that you wish to get something from, before making a request. Why?

1. You need to be genuine which requires information, discussion and time.
2. You need a giving heart which comes only through the act of freely giving from that which you have.
3. The help you need is most readily obtained from a friend, someone who trusts you or a person whose confidence you have gained.

Remember, the first meeting with a contact may not result in an opportunity to deliver your 30-second speech or to ask networking questions. That's okay. Getting a job takes time. Building a relationship takes time. The job you hope to get will last a long time, as did the ones you've had in the past. It is well worth the effort (and time) to make more than one exchange with each individual in order to establish and cultivate a relationship.

If you are following general networking guidelines and making 10 contacts each day, a few of them will require little preparation, either because you have already done the work, another person has set the stage or the contact is as ready as you are, to build the relationship and move forward.

If the meeting does not result in the needed information, and many will not, your all important closing task is to keep the door open for the next contact and where possible, set the next appointment. Discouragement and the urgent need to find a job or make a sale, are your worst enemies. Take a deep breath. End on the most positive note.

When networking with a stranger or a person you do not know well and to whom you have not been introduced, use a three-phase approach.

First, make warm-up comments and ask conversational questions. Get a discussion going about anything.

Second, move the conversation to "What kind of work are you in?" or something similar depending on what you may already know. Continue with other genuinely interested questions about the person's work for as long as they want to talk. You probably recognize this as "be a good listener" but stay focused on his work.

Third, in time the same question will be asked of you, "What do you do for a living?" Now the stage is yours. You have been invited to speak and the audience is listening.

This approach works. It is not a theory but my practiced experience. Ask my wife. I used it when we were dating and still use it in our relationship, not intentionally, but still much to her dismay. She will happily answer my direct questions without preamble. But, there are only a few people you and I can approach so directly. Most require substantially more work.

Now that you have made a contact and had one or more meetings, the last two rules of Networking come into play:

  1. "Thank you", often and sincerely. Use email, snail mail, the telephone and say "thank you" in person when you can. Use the language that fits your relationship. Don't forget the person who put you in a position to know your new contact.
  2. Follow up with a report on your success. Follow up even (especially) when you have nothing to ask. Enhance and encourage your relationship.

I am surprised how quickly the calls for assistance or with questions have come back to me, proving the validity of the work you and I do to build and maintain relationships. And meeting people is fun. It has rewards beyond employment in a great job. Trust me, new friends will be one of the great blessings of networking regardless of the reason.

Nothing is accomplished until someone sells something. I am selling myself. You are selling yourself. Networking contacts are selling themselves.

So, I'll end at the beginning - "How can I assist you?"

KW Norris is an IT Professional, Data Conversion Analyst, Consultant and Sales Executive. KW works with medical and utility billing software vendors and medical clinics to provide the best technology solutions available, to improve quality and efficiency in the medical office and utility billing agency. If you need a technology solution, KW can help you find it.

In his off hours KW does volunteer work as an Employment Counselor, he conducts networking seminars for employment and small businesses, is an Advocate for youth, coaches students on scholarships, raises money for scholarships, works with a local Boy Scout troop and writes family history and poetry.

KW Norris
Technology Consultants, Inc.
4125 SW 185th Avenue, Beaverton, OR 97006
503-356-4105 ext 11, 503-939-9223 cell phone, 503-356-4109 fax

Article Source:

LinkedIn has added a wonderful new feature to their arsenal of networking tools. The new college portal can be accessed two ways:  1), by typing in the URL; or 2), by going to the bottom of the page on your home tab after you have logged in to LinkedIn.

The college portal will populate colleges/universities based upon your profile educational data, including school names and class years.  Once you access the portal you can click on each school name and expand the class year parameters.

After you access the alumni page for your school, three bar graphs will illustrate the following about the specific alumni population:
  1. Where they work
  2. What they do 
  3. Where they live
The bars on each graph serve as filters to enhance your search.  For example, you can pick a company, a job category, and a location.  Alumni who who meet the criterion based on the filters will have snapshot profiles displayed below the charts.  You can also expand your search by picking multiple companies, job types, or locations.

Probably the best feature of the college portal is the "request for a connection" process is much simpler than the standard LinkedIn protocol.  Just click on the " connection" link on each profile and an invitation box pops up from where you can send a quick invitation or add a personal message.  Why is this easier than than the standard method?  First, you do not have to indicate how you know the individual.  Second, you can request connections for 3rd's, which you cannot do on a standard LinkedIn search.

Because the college portal draws from your profile, it is essential that our students and alumni list BYU-Idaho using multiple names.  Unfortunately, our students and alumni are not consistent in how they list our university on their profiles. The most common is Brigham Young University-Idaho, followed by BYU-Idaho, and then Ricks College.  Some have even listed BYUI or BYU Idaho, without the dash.  My recommendation is that all of our alumni list our school three times using the names officially used by LinkedIn, which are:
  1. Brigham Young University-Idaho
  2. BYU-Idaho
  3. Ricks College
Some of our younger alumni may question why they should include Ricks College since they never attended when the school was known by that name.  The simple answer is it will give you portal access to thousands more of our alumni.  Coincidentally, I also encourage all of our Ricks alumni to list Brigham Young University-Idaho as the school they attended.

To see an example, you are welcome to see how I have listed the schools on my profile which you can see at: