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Student Networking Tips

No matter what kind of event you are attending it is important to keep the basics of networking in mind. Networking maximizes the value of attending any event and gives you beneficial connections long after the event is over. Make the most of your experience by following these tips:

  • Know what to expect. Networking is more about building relationships than immediate payoffs such as finding your next position. Think of each contact as a mutually beneficial exchange that creates resources for the future.
  • Take the initiative to make contact. Don’t be shy. Smile, walk up to someone and introduce yourself. Be aware and respectful of the person’s time and space. Don’t interrupt an ongoing conversation.
  • Be enthusiastic and positive. When talking to someone you’ve just met, make them feel comfortable by using a friendly, straightforward approach.
  • Pay close attention to people’s badges when you meet. If you attend an event where participants are wearing badges use this information to your benefit. Badge information provides a quick introduction and points for discussion, such as their organization and geographic location.
  • Maximize your opportunities. Don’t skip out on any receptions, luncheons, dinners, etc. associated with an event. These are valuable chances to meet more people.
  • Step out of your comfort zone. Don’t always sit with your friends at events. Instead, arrive early and use the time to introduce yourself to those around you. Remember, everyone is in the same boat and the people you meet will likely be receptive to your conversation.
  • Introduce yourself to speakers before the presentation. If an event includes a speaker approach them prior to their talk. Once they have met you, they may even refer to you during the session, further increasing your visibility. Be prepared with questions you would like to ask.
  • Be aware of the people around you at all times. Whether you’re talking to a CEO or a fellow student, be professional at all times. Anyone could be watching or listening.
  • Exchange business cards and follow up with contacts you want in your network. On the back of each business card, write information about the person to help you remember them. Use this information when you follow up by phone or e-mail. Remember, etiquette says that you should not give someone a business card without first asking them.