Healthy Teen Network

Finding Treatment for Depression

There is a difference between clinical depression and just feelingdepressed, which is often a term used to describe sadness. Sadness is when you have a problem or relationship you are unhappy or concerned about but depression is when you feel thatyou are the problem.

Popular media is loaded with articles on different types of depression and it can be confusing to figure out how best to treat yours. In St Louis MO Depression Therapy Treatment options may seem more overwhelming than helpful.
The first thing is to get a diagnosis. There are multiple types of depression including:

Manic Depression

which is otherwise known as bipolar disorder. Iit has a biological basis which means you’re probably going to want to see a psychiatrist so that you can work both with therapy and with medication to help manage the up-and-down nature of living with manic depression.

Seasonal Adjustment Disorder

is a pattern of feeling depressed during the winter months it’s most commonly treated with light therapy but there is still a point where one needs to consult a physician.

Postnatal Depression

also known as postpartum depression occurs in the mother following childbirth it’s long been thought that this is due to hormonal changes however postnatal depression does not differ in any way from normal clinical depression, what they do have in common is they are both to do with the lack of ability to adapt to a new circumstance.

After Diagnosis

There are more than 400 different types of psychotherapy offered for clinical depression. This can be confusing to say the least and when you’ve been diagnosed you just want to get started on feeling better.

Studies show that there are therapies that are more and less effective than others. The most effective ones are solution focused- that means they seek to lessen the feelings of suffering and teach skills that prevent future relapse.

treatment-for-depression

Terms to Know

•           Cognitive Therapy

looks at how we think and interpret the events in our lives

•           Behavioral therapy

which looks at changing patterns whether we’re aware or unaware of these patterns

•           Interpersonal therapy

deals with how we relate to others and how well we communicate

A less effective type of therapy is the psychoanalytical therapy It delves into the past looking for reasons. This therapy is sometimes known to cause “paralysis by analysis” which describes the downward spiral into greater distress that can happen when therapy starts delving into the past.

What we do absolutely know is that a combination of medication and therapy seems to have the most successful outcome. It is most important that you have a relationship with your therapist that includes trust, confidence and some improvement within the first six months of therapy with the ultimate goals being:

  1. Getting out of your current depression
  2. Having the tools to avoid becoming depressed again.

Helpful Hint: Ask for testemonials from past clients.

The Future after Successful Alcohol Rehab

If you have ever been addicted to any substances you will know that you never believe it will happen to you.  You will also be aware that it can happen to anyone; it is often a response to large amounts of stress.  Unfortunately there is an increasing amount of stress when living in the modern world.  There is a constant pressure to look your best, to feel your best and work harder than anyone else.  This pressure often takes its toll and ultimately results in a need for a release: this is often alcohol because it is easily accessible and legal.

Recognizing you have a problem in respect of your alcohol consumption is the essential first step to being able to stop.  You cannot change a habit easily and many people will turn to an alcohol rehab clinic for assistance.

The Approach

Most alcohol rehab clinics will adopt a similar approach.  You will need to reduce your intake or stop it all together.  Through a carefully controlled procedure your body will adjust to not having alcohol inside it and will stop craving it.  Providing you stay away from alcohol in the future you are unlikely to have a repeat problem.  However, this is where the real issue lies.  Once you have accepted that you need help it is relatively simple to remove your dependency on alcohol.  This is because you become part of an alcohol rehab clinic and are guided through the process; one step at a time.  If you are treated at the clinic then all outside issues and potential diversions are removed and you will become alcohol free.  But, to ensure a successful treatment you will need to stay away from alcohol; this is much more difficult when you return to your old life:

Temptation

Even if your friends know you have been to an alcohol rehab clinic they may still expect you to act and behave in the same way as before the clinic.  This may mean they expect you to join them on drunken nights out and continue to be the life and soul of any party.  This is one of the most difficult parts of your future after alcohol rehab; learning to say no and sticking to your decision even if this results in a loss of some friends.

Support

The only way that you will be able to survive the traumatic side effects of recovering from alcohol rehab is to use the support offered by the clinic and by your loved ones.  There will be times when you are struggling to cope with saying no to drink, or you may even experience cravings.  This is when you will be most vulnerable and will be most likely to succumb to temptation.  In order to make a success of your alcohol rehab treatment you will need to enlist all the support available to keep you strong and focused on living a live without alcohol.

Although the patch may be difficult at times, it will become easier and you will be grateful that you stuck with it.

Foods for Body Builders

If you take your health seriously, then you probably already know what foods to eat and which to avoid (or any processed food with high glycemic index). Although already have this knowledge you could still be losing some hidden benefits in the foods you eat.

To unlock the full nutritional potential of your meals, remember that vegetables, fruits and other whole foods we eat are also living organisms. As such, they have their own biomechanics of self-defense to protect them from predators. The product of these biological mechanisms such as trace elements, carotenoids, polyphenols, flavonoids, and phytochemicals can also protect health problems. They definitely beat the steroid use in Australia.

  1. Carrots

For mysterious reasons, carrots cut after they have been cooked provide more nutritional value than cut them before they have been cooked. For some, this may be a disappointing realization, as raw carrots are some portable and more convenient for chopping vegetables. Surprisingly, cook all carrot and then cut it to increase its nutritional value and improved flavor. Cooked carrots stingless tend to be sweeter, but more importantly, retain more than about 25 percent of a compound called falcarinol, which protects carrots from fungal diseases in nature. The Falcarinol has properties that fight cancer. Carrots also contain beta-carotene – a healthy compound that makes orange. Do not forget you that in order to absorb this nutrient you have to put them together with some fat.

  1. Nuts

Nuts of all kinds are full of protein, omega-6, trace minerals and fatty acids are a fantastic and convenient snack. Phytic acid and these anti-nutrients are not digestible in humans and wreak havoc on the body as they eagerly cling to minerals such as calcium, iron, zinc, and others. Consuming a lot of these nuts without putting it through a process called outbreak could lead to serious mineral deficiencies and bone loss. Outbreaks consist of soaking nuts in water (salt water, or sometimes an acidic solution also works) by a predetermined length of time. Exposure to moisture imitates something that occurs in nature when nuts create enzymes to break down anti-nutrients. What this ultimately means is that properly germinated nuts have increased their nutritional value and are easier to digest. The immersion time depends on the type and amount, and can vary from a few hours to a full day.

  1. Plant

Boiled vegetables remain a staple among people who want to lose fat and diets of bodybuilders. Chicken and boiled vegetables, anyone? Indeed, it is fast, convenient and easy to do. Perhaps even sadder is that once the water is poured quickly without even a shrug, leaving nothing but a bundle of fibers less nutritious green matter can hardly be called broccoli. It turns out that boiled vegetables are perhaps the fastest way to lose nutrients. In addition to step into an absolutely tasteless food, vegetables filter all valuable soluble nutrients in the cooking water. At that time, you should only drink water in order to save the loose nutrients.

Simple Tips to Help You Find a Good Mental Health Counselor

The world becomes more and more hectic every day creating even worse stresses and levels of mental diseases to the people. Many of them try to cope with the problems themselves, but if you have trued and it does not work, you can always seek professional help of a mental health counselor or rehabilitation counselor in case you have gone through some mental trauma. So if you would like to find such expert, read our little tips below.

Talk to your primary care physician: The first person you need to talk to if you want to find mental health counselor is your physician. You need to explain your problems so that he or she can give you the right direction to begin with.

Check local hospital: If you have just moved or your physician did not know how to help you, simply go to your local hospital to seek for help. As a rule, hospitals know many good mental health counselors and various programs in the area to lead you in the right direction.

Ask someone you know: First of all ask people whom you know may have similar problems because they will be able to help you at most. If there is no one with similar problems, just ask you relatives and friends who may know any contacts from maybe their friends. If you are not willing to share your problem with the close people, keep in mind that many schools and churches have specialists and you can find rehabilitation counselor there.

Do the homework: It is vital that you find a person with good reputation that will be able to help you solve any issues you have in your life. You need to make some background research of any mental health counselor that you consider visiting in order to see that he or she is a real professional.

Think about yourself: Keep in mind that you are looking for a rehabilitation counselor or mental health counsel whom you will be comfortable talking to and being with. You need to trust this person completely to open yourself and get some professional help and feedback that will solve any issues. Keep also in mind the factor of affordability, because otherwise you the ability to effectively talk to your counselor, and is your counselor able to find the answers to your current problems.

Take your time: One of the most important moments in the therapy is to take your time. Once you find rehabilitation counselor visit him or her for at least couple of months, this is the time required to gain your trust and to feel real support of the professional.

Terence Obrien is established as a content producer for a range of digital content hubs, who shares opinion on a range of counseling subjects such as how to find a good counselor to resolve mental problems and areas alike. A proud traveler of online space and an influential blogger in everything related to the counseling.

What is the Importance of Behavior Training – Challenging Positive Violent Management?

Enhancing personal effectiveness at workplace has turned out to be a priority by many. No matter who you are, which sector you are concerned with, or what your job exactly is- being able to empower the most from your skill is something that every company needs. This is where behaviour training – challenging positive violent management makes its way.

The behavior training is not just a course but a method that helps you develop a precise understanding about how do people work, interact and behave, so that at the end of the day you can successfully communicate, negotiate or influence in order to achieve positive results.

How Does Behavior Training Work?

Behavior training is a vast course that covers numerous aspects of human behavior and the type of challenges that it posses. With the help this course you will be able to acknowledge

  • Different types of challenging behavior and their impact
  • Internal and external influences on the behavior
  • Factors that cause challenging behavior
  • Outcomes and results of challenging behavior
  • Response to scenario based situations or questions
  • Values to approach for handling behavior
  • Positive strategies to nurture positive results

Hence, behavior training incorporates exceptional tools, ideas and agendas that can be beneficial for almost anyone including health specialists, day care employees, teachers, public servants, transporters, airlines and many more.

Best thing about these types of courses is that they are supported by guaranteed tools and methodologies that ensures the trainee adapts each and every concept in no time. Other than taking help from proficient teachers, the trainee can even make use of resources, contents and programs which allows them to complete their training in a competent manner.

Benefits of Behavior Training- Challenging Positive Violent Management

There are innumerable benefits of registering for behavior training courses and with the help of the program you can

Improve Organizational Performance:

Behavior is the essence of any business. For having a positive graph it is important to introduce positive outlook at the workplace too. And, there cannot be a better option than behavior training- challenging positive violent management for the purpose. When employees become aware of the behavior that they need to showcase, along with the methods that they should utilize for tackling challenging behavior then this ultimately leads to improved performance.

Productive Working Environment:

It is the behavior that can make a company everything or nothing. So, with the use of positive behavior workers can induce a positive working environment that would provide productive results for the business or the sector that they are associated with.

Positive & Profitable Outcomes:

The three Ps which are Positive, Productive and Profitable are regarded to the outcome of behavior training, and hence encouraged at almost every sector.

The way you project behavior or the methods that you use for handling challenging behavior can indeed bring a huge amount of difference in your work. Therefore, when the aim is to enhance personal effectiveness for your work then behavior training is something that you should consider.

Do Latino Youth Really Want to Get Pregnant?

Genevieve Martínez García

Genevieve Martínez García

While teen births rates are rapidly dropping, the disparity between Latino girls and their White and Black peers is still noticeable. This disparity has led researchers and program administrators alike to ask themselves…how much of Latino teen pregnancies are intended? It is not an unusual question since the number of unintended pregnancies is quite high. It is estimated that in 31 out of 50 states, more than half of pregnancies are unintended, about half of which resulted in actual births (Kost, 2013).

Pregnancy intentions have been measured in multiple ways, assessing pregnancy intentions during conception, level of happiness with pregnancy at birth, or number of years between actual and planned conception. These measurements have resulted in multiple variables: unintended, unwanted, or mistimed pregnancies. However, these measurements are exclusively asked to pregnant or parenting mothers. My curiosity was to find out if girls and boys have a secrete desire to get pregnant, and what are the environmental conditions that may lead a teen to think a pregnancy can be a good thing in their lives.

Through extensive formative research (interviews, focus-groups and key stakeholders’ consultation), I developed a scale to assess pregnancy intentions among Latino youth in one Maryland county. The “Pregnancy Wantedness Scale” (PWS) asked respondents to rate on a 5-point Likert scale their level of agreement on 20 statements that described positive and negative consequences of an immediate pregnancy. High scores on the PWS indicate higher levels of positive attitudes towards and pregnancy. These attitudinal items stated for example “Having a baby right now would make me happy” or “If I have a baby right now my partner would stay with me.” We built a linear regression model to explore the impact socio-demographic and cultural attributes have on the level on pregnancy wantedness. We included indicators of income, family education, household composition, religion, acculturation, age, and contraception use. I also wanted to isolate the results by gender and level of sexual experience, so we split our sample of 794 Latino youth ages 14-19 into four groups. (For a full description of the methods, data tables, strengths, and limitations please see the full text article here)[1].

The sample was slightly more male (57%) with a mean age of 16.9 years. Forty-two percent (42%) were born outside the U.S., and 43% immigrated as children under 13. Many of the youth immigrated from El Salvador, Honduras, or Guatemala (36%) and most (70%) lived with their mother, or with mother and father. Their mothers’ level of education was pretty low. About half (50.6%) had less than high school degree, and only 14.7% had some college degree which is consistent with education levels of Central American immigrants nationwide (Pew Hispanic, 2014). Half of the respondents considered themselves Catholic (50.5%) and reported that religion was very important or important (38.1%) in influencing their decisions about sexuality and contraception.

Most of the sample (60.8%) reported having had vaginal sex at least once in their lifetime. Of these, 43% of the males first had sex by age 13 and 20% of the females at 14 years. Although 68.5% and 52.7% of sexually active male and female respondents respectively used a condom during their last sexual intercourse, 23.8% reported using no method or using withdrawal. Fourteen percent of sexually active males and 25.5% of sexually active females had experienced a pregnancy.

We found that teens in general did not intend to get pregnant. However, their overall score on the PWS scale hovered just below the midpoint. This means that their intentions to NOT get pregnant were not very strong either. Surprisingly this ambivalence is precisely what places them at risk of a pregnancy. Previous studies that examined ambivalence found that female youth who are ambivalent towards becoming pregnant are less likely to use contraception (Stevens-Simon, Sheeder Beach, & Harter, 2005; Kavanaugh & Schwarz, 2009; Frost, Singh, & Finer, 2007), more likely to have an abortion (Rosengard, Phipps, Adler, & Ellen, 2004), and more likely to get pregnant (Zabin, Astone, & Emerson 1993) than female youth with negative or even positive attitudes about pregnancy.

How did the four subsamples compare to each other in terms of their levels of pregnancy wantedness? The sexually experienced sample had a significantly higher level of pregnancy wantedness PWS mean of 50.5 compared to 47.1 of the abstinent sample. Females had significantly lower scores than males (mean= 46.5 versus 48.8 respectively), and abstinent females had lower scores than their sexually active peers (44.1 versus 48.8 respectively). Differences in pregnancy wantedness levels between sexually experienced and abstinent males were not significant.

So what are the factors that may cause this ambivalence? We discovered that for all four groups, living with their mother, and living with their mother AND father was a protective factor that decreased their pregnancy wantedness. However, each group had different factors that impacted their attitudes towards a teen pregnancy. For those with no sexual experience, their mother’s education (having at least completed high school completion or having some college education) decreased their PWS scores. Males were influenced by their religious views. Those who considered religion important in their sexual behavior decisions had higher pregnant wantedness scores, suggesting that traditional religious views encourage familism. One interesting finding is the effect of acculturation in females’ attitudes towards a pregnancy. For abstinent females, greater levels of language acculturation—meaning they spoke more English than Spanish—translated into lower PWS score. For sexually experienced females having been born outside the U.S. decreased their pregnancy wantedness. Another surprising finding is that only hormonal contraception use at last sexual intercourse was found significant in decreasing pregnancy wantedness among sexually active females, but condom use was not significant in any group.

How do social determinants affect pregnancy wantedness?

The table below lists the social determinants found significant in reducing (-) or increasing (+) the PWS score, or pregnancy wantedness among Latino teens.

2014_09_table_pregnancy wantednessWhat’s the take home message?

We found that Latino youth do not want to get pregnant in most cases. However, their ambivalent attitudes towards a pregnancy might place them at risk by not actively seeking effective ways to prevent a pregnancy. As sexual health educators, we need to shift our lens and think beyond the classroom, the contraception, and the curriculum we teach. Where Latino youth live, learn, and play matters! And this is evidenced by the familial, social, and cultural environment that helps shape their views towards a pregnancy and towards actively seeking pregnancy protection. This study suggests that the family environment (who lives with the youth and their level of education), their beliefs (religion), their acculturation level (language use and place of birth), and use of hormonal contraception play an important role in youth’s sexual and reproductive health decisions. Condom use, the desired behavioral outcome of evidence-based teen pregnancy prevention programs, appears irrelevant to pregnancy desire. It would be interesting to explore more in-depth the acculturation dynamics that impact sexually abstinent girls differently and the religious views males hold. Teen pregnancy prevention efforts must expand the scope of their targeted outcomes, and consider social determinants of health from social, economic and cultural contexts in which Latino youth live, work, and play to promote healthy sexuality for all.

[1] Martínez-García, G. Carter-Pokras, O., Atkinson, N., Portnoy, B. & Lee, S. (2014). Do Latino youth really want to get pregnant?: Assessing pregnancy wantedness. American Journal of Sexuality Education, 9:3, 329-346. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/15546128.2014.944735

 

References

Kost, K., Henshaw, S., & Carlin, L. (2010). US teenage pregnancies, births and abortions: National and state trends and trends by race and ethnicity.

Pew Hispanic (2014). 2011 Hispanic Origin Profiles. Retrieved on September 20, 2014 fromhttp://www.pewhispanic.org/.

Stevens-Simon, C., Sheeder, J., Beach, R., & Harter, S. (2005). Adolescent

pregnancy: do expectations affect intentions?. Journal of Adolescent Health,37(3), 243-e15.

Kavanaugh, M. L., & Schwarz, E. B. (2009). Prospective Assessment of Pregnancy Intentions Using a Single‐Versus a Multi‐Item Measure.

Perspectives on sexual and reproductive health, 41(4), 238-243.

Frost, J. J., & Darroch, J. E. (2008). Factors associated with contraceptive choice and inconsistent method use, United States, 2004. Perspectives on sexual and reproductive health, 40(2), 94-104.

Rosengard, C., Phipps, M. G., Adler, N. E., & Ellen, J. M. (2004).

Adolescent pregnancy intentions and pregnancy outcomes: A longitudinal examination.Journal of Adolescent Health, 35(6), 453-461.

Zabin, L. S., Astone, N. M., & Emerson, M. R. (1993). Do adolescents want babies? The relationship between attitudes and behavior. Journal of Research on Adolescence, 3(1), 67-86.

Youth 360° Photo Contest

Photo by Lena VasiljevaHealthy Teen Network wants to see your take on the idea that how and where we live, learn, and play matters. Share a photo that illustrates this idea and enter for a chance to win one of two great prizes.

We frame this concept as Youth 360°…elements such as family, friends, education and employment opportunities, geographic location, access to health care, recreational options, the media…and so much more…shape our long-term health and well-being

Youth and young adult entrants can submit a photo for a chance to win a Samsung Galaxy 7” Tablet ($179 value). Adult professionals entrants are eligible to win free registration to Healthy Teen Network’s 2015 Conference ($550 value)

To enter, submit your original photo online. Include a written description (100 words or fewer) of the image captured and how it illustrates that where we live, work, and play matters (“Description”), the location where the photo was taken, and the names of any persons in the Photograph (if known).

Official Contest Rules available online here. All entries must be received by October 10, 2014 at 11:59pm EST.

Photo by Lena Vasiljeva,  (c) 2013.

Stories Worth Sharing: 2013 Annual Report

Pat Paluzzi, DrPH

Pat Paluzzi, CNM, DrPH

Check out the Healthy Teen Network 2013 Annual Report. Available only online, we highlight several stories of projects from the 2012-2013 fiscal year. You’ll learn more about our efforts to crowdfund to print and disseminate a graphic novel, conduct a community assessment, and develop a motion graphic to link teens to sexual health care services. You’ll hear stories from our members, including two young mothers, as they share their experiences attending the Healthy Teen Network conference, attending trainings, and partnering together to make a difference. As always, we continuously strive to improve our efforts to build your capacity to promote healthy youth development…and so, we invite you to share your stories with us, too. For us, these are stories worth sharing.

Pat Paluzzi, CNM, DrPH, is the President/CEO of Healthy Teen Network

Austin on Foot… Bats, BBQ, and Boots

shanise_headshot

Shanise Taylor

With its eclectic mix of people, one-of-a-kind restaurants, and year-round gorgeous weather, Austin is the perfect back drop forHealthy Teen Network’s 35th Annual Conference. Having been to Austin previously, I have several tips and recommendations on eating and sightseeing your way through downtown—all within walking distance of the conference site!

Let’s start with the amazing host hotel for this year’s conference, the beautiful Hyatt Regency Austin. Located on the  majesticLady Bird Lake, it boasts one of the best views in Downtown Austin.  Because Lady Bird Lake has a sprawling 10 mile hike and trail, it’s an always bustling host to many fitness and other recreational activities. Fun Fact: Lady Bird Lake was named in honor of former First Lady, Lady Bird Johnson.  At one time she even turned down the Lake being named after her. Posthumously, Austin’s City Council changed the name to honor the late First Lady’s dedication to beautifying and making the lake’s shoreline a place of recreation.

Need a bit more excitement? The Ann W. Richards Congress Avenue Bridge is the site of one of the best natural spectacles known in the United States. Affectionately known as the “Bat Bridge,” the Congress Avenue Bridge is home to one of world’s largest Mexican Free-Tailed bat colonies. Emerging at dusk to feed themselves, this convergence of bats blankets the shoreline and crosses Lady Bird Lake every evening. It’s a natural wonder when you see how uniformly and quickly the bats move.  There are two ways to experience this phenomenon: you can either stand on the bridge and watch from above as the bridge slightly shakes while the bats move about, or you can experience it from below the bridge to experience a blacking out of the sky.  Either way, it’s a one-of-a-kind natural wonder.  Normally flights happen around 8:00 to 8:30 pm, but for more specific times, call the Bat Hotline (not to be mistaken for aid from Batman) at (512) 416-5700 ext. 3636.

Now that we’ve gotten a little bit of nature (not to mention, free!) activities out of the way, how about some food and entertainment? No matter what your taste buds desire, you can probably find it on, or just off, Congress Avenue. From BBQ to Tex-Mex, downtown Austin has it covered. There are quite a few establishments that boast good food and a cool ambiance, but I’ll highlight just a few.

Hop Doddy: With their delectable choice of craft burgers and beers, Hop Doddy is a great choice for savory bites. Supportive of the local agriculture, this burger lover’s dream provides you with a taste of Texas and, more specifically, Austin!

Iron Works BBQ: Burgers not your thing and looking for some authentic Texas BBQ? Iron Works BBQ may just be the place for you. Eighteen minutes walking (or five minutes by cab) from the hotel, this restaurant boasts a vast array of delicious barbecued meat. If you want to try your own hand at recreating some of their flavors when you get back home, choose from a vast array of spices, sauces, and rubs available for purchase from the store.

Freeb!rds World Burrito: Want to try some local Tex-Mex? This place will tickle your fancy, as well as fill your belly. Within an eight-minute walk from the hotel, Freeb!rds’ menu is a veritable feast of burritos, custom-built tacos, and nachos. With such unique signature items like the Monster Burrito (need you ask?), Death Sauce (“Stop cryin’ like a baby–this ain’t for the weak!” they warn), and  Queso (lots of melted, cheesy goodness… with a little homemade zip), you’re liable to run and not walk to this funky dining establishment. (For the health conscious looking for lighter offerings, they also have a nice selection of salads.)

By now, you should be happily full and singing the sweet praises of Austin’s wonderful dining selection. Are you up to walking off some of that food and look for trinkets and other keepsakes? Why not stop at Texas National Outfitters (TNO)? Located within walking distance of Hop Doddy, this one-stop shop of local flare has you covered. Be it boot-shaped beer cozies to actual one-of-a-kind cowboy boots, TNO has all your Texas needs. Pricing here ranges from reasonable to pricey.

Still wandering and looking for something to do? 6th Street (Sixth Street) is known to be Austin’s Entertainment Center. Nestled between Congress and Interstate Highway 35, this popular destination has something for everyone, from live comedy to karaoke and live music, Sixth Street is easily Austin’s most eclectically diverse entertainment area.  Also conveniently located along this seven street stretch are numerous bars and lounges for those who like to explore the nightlife.

With Healthy Teen Network’s Conference mornings starting very early, I know by now, you’re craving some sleep. But how about some dessert first before you head back up to your room? Stop by Southwest Bistro. Located on the second level of Hyatt Regency Austin’s beautiful atrium view of the skyline, take in the night, have some  coffee, and be sure to order the Roasted Pineapple Cake.  (And if you’re craving a late night snack, the tortilla soup at SWB is also a must try item!)

Looking for other awesomely fun and interesting things to do? Be sure to visit Austin’s helpfulwebsite.  It’s chock-full with information to round out your visit! We’d love to hear your recommendations for other things to eat, see, and do in Austin, so feel free to share your favorites in the comment section below.

Hope to see y’all in Austin this October!

Shanise Taylor is the Executive and Communications Coordinator at Healthy Teen Network.

Connect, Create, and Cultivate: Methods for Networking at a Conference

rita_2013

Rita Lassiter

At our annual conference, we’ve discovered that one thing attendees come hoping to do is make the most of the networking opportunities the event affords. For many people, the word “networking” evokes hesitation and even fear. We often associate the art of networking with a forced effort to meet every person in the room through something like a speed networking exercise, or the aimless collection of business cards. However, networking is a key component to expanding our personal and professional circles and creates unbelievable opportunities.

What does it take to have a successful networking experience at your annual conference or meeting?

Jodi Brockington, founder of Friends of Jodi and NIARA Consulting, a full service marketing and business development company, suggests that a successful networking experience comes with a plan of action. “You MUST have a networking strategy—you cannot just wing it. Networking is an art and vital to your career success, but you must have a vision for doing it right.”

With all this in mind, here are some tips to connect, create, and cultivate new relationships at the Healthy Teen Network conference and other events.

THE MASTER PLAN

Networking Is A Two-Way Street
When you ask “What’s in it for the other party—not just what’s in it for me,” you seek to be a useful resource to others. An effective networking relationship should be mutually beneficial to each party. The goal of networking is to make a connection, so your mission is to be a connector of people, ideas, and information. Everyone has something to give, whether it’s time, talent, or performance. You get value by giving value, so make yourself worth getting to know.

Who You DON’T Know Will Hurt You
It’s perfectly fine to step out of your comfort zone and meet other professionals from other organizations. If you believe in six degrees of separation, then you know that everyone and everything is six or fewer steps away, by way of introduction, from any other person in the world. If you’re looking to expand your network, then you’ll find that the theory holds true—even down to as few as two or three degrees sometimes. You should network laterally, vertically, and horizontally. Never underestimate the power of the grapevine. There is a wealth of information just waiting to be exchanged with people that you don’t know.

Quality Not Quantity
Networking is more than collecting business cards and contact information at a networking event. Brockington suggests that conference attendees “focus on making a few high-quality connections. People who network merely to collect business cards have completely missed the mark. You can’t meet 50 people at a three-day conference and expect to remember their names or instantly have a viable network. It takes time, but you must start and continue at it.” People want to connect on a deeper level than spending five minutes with an individual and then moving on to the next person. Take advantage of  opportunities before and after conference sessions to connect with fellow attendees. Exploring the host city on a venture out of the hotel/conference center or a chat during conference meals are a couple ways to network within the time constraints of busy conference agendas. Early-career professionals want to meet seasoned colleagues who can help them learn the ropes. Experienced professionals desire to tap and amplify their existing network. Everyone turns to events to make connections with like-minded people who will share knowledge, opportunities, and ideas that will help them do their job faster, better, and easier.

THE APPROACH

Be Likeable
Outside of being armed with business cards and a charged cellular phone/tablet, approachability and likability is key. First impressions are lasting impressions, so be certain to make eye contact, focus on remembering the other person’s name, and use it in the conversation.

Be Interesting
Be interested in what the other person is saying, but don’t be afraid to shake up the conversation. Who’s to say that the topic of conversation has to stay within the confines of work? Discover what that person’s interests are outside of the office (e.g. philanthropic work, hobbies, etc.). Why not test the six degrees of separation theory to see if you have acquaintances in common based on personal or professional backgrounds (e.g. hometown, current residence, school, fraternal organizations, etc.)?

THE FOLLOW UP

Managing Your Connections
Having a strong network requires relationship building. Stay plugged in to your network after your conference/meeting concludes with a follow up email or a handwritten note, a gesture that is becoming a long lost art. The general rule of thumb is that any follow-up correspondence should take place no later than 48 hours after meeting someone, but never longer than a week. In addition to an email or handwritten note, the use of social media is another popular way to build relationships with colleagues (e.g. LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.).

Remember that networking isn’t about being the most extroverted, or just passing out a stack of business cards, promoting yourself, or making a sales pitch. There is commonality that can be found in exchanging information and experiences. Take the time to connect, create, and cultivate opportunities for you, the other party, and your individual networks as well.

We hope to see you—and network with you—soon at the Healthy Teen Network conference!

How do you make the most of conferences and other events?

What networking tips would you share with a colleague?

Rita Lassiter is the Meeting and Event Planner at Healthy Teen Network.

Scroll To Top