Lesson 11: Networking

Name(s) of student(s):

Age and grade level:

Goal from IEP connected to lesson:

Objective from IEP connected to lesson:

Purpose of lesson: To consider how strong social skills can help expand the student’s network.

Materials needed: Internet access

Introduction

“You may have noticed a theme throughout this Social Skills lesson series: the techniques and benefits of conducting yourself considerately, appropriately, and positively. When these skills are mastered, your personality and character truly shine. People notice you, appreciate you, and usually want to get to know you. With good social skills, you more easily connect with others and your social network expands. This lesson is on expanding your social network, which is extremely beneficial in making friendships, finding a significant other, and landing a job.”

Discussion: Where Can I Meet Others?

Where might you expand your network by meeting new people?

  • Social and recreational clubs
  • School peers or former school peers
  • Wherever you are introduced to new people by an acquaintance
  • In your neighborhood
  • Through volunteering
  • In any former or current job

Is it ever inappropriate to meet new people?

  • On a commute home from work or while someone is busy at the grocery store or other location, the individual may want a few minutes of silence. It doesn’t hurt to say hi and allow the other person the opportunity to join the conversation or remain quiet. Take social clues, such as asking questions or responding thoroughly to questions as a door into conversation. If the individual is virtually unresponsive to questions and does not ask you any questions, he is comfortable to remain in silence.

Discussion: Now What?

“You met a new person. Now what? Exchange information and remain in contact. Connecting through social media is an informal and unobtrusive connecting tool. Asking, “Can I find you on Facebook?” is common these days. Now if you meet an individual who has potential to be an employer or the connection is not informal, asking to exchange phone numbers and e-mail addresses is more appropriate. Remember to communicate with the individual every so often, whether to see how she is doing or to get together. If possible, the individuals in your social network should have current contact with you.”

“Let’s say it is time to look for a job or change careers. You now have many people in your network who can tell you about an open position, recommend you for the position, or possibly hire you. Understand that the most common method for finding a job is through your personal network.”

Exercise: Designing a Business Card

“Many employed people are given business cards, which aid in conveniently exchanging contact information when expanding the social network. Why not create a business card to have your information easily accessible? You will appear as a go-getter and a well-designed business card is visually appealing and helps make you memorable. It is best to know the type of employment you are seeking, but a business card can be created with merely your contact information.”

Have the student create a business card with her name, job title (current or desired), e-mail address, and phone number. It can be made on a business card design website using a template. Consider the possibility of having cards printed. If the student is a braille reader, consider having the student’s name and phone number embossed. (It will be more memorable with braille.)

Alternatively, the student can create a mock business card using a Word document and cardstock paper.

Exercise: Benefits of a Robust Social and Business Network

Have the student explore the benefits of a good social network using the Internet.

Review

“Today we talked about one end result of having good social skills: you connect well with others and can expand your social network. You created a business card in an effort to conveniently share your contact information and you reviewed benefits of a strong network.”

Progress notes, data collection, comments, and modifications: