iSchool Career Newsletter, 5/11/2016

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5 Simple Networking Tips

Whenever I talk with students, colleagues, friends or acquaintances and the topic of networking comes up, I always hear about how much they dislike networking. Honestly, have you ever met anyone that says they like networking? I know these people exist, but I just haven’t met one yet.

Networking takes work, is often times awkward, and on a rare occasion, it can be fun. I am often asked how to become a great networker. Here are a few strategies that anyone can employ to help them become a better networker.

  1. Accept that networking is awkward! The first step to solving a problem is to acknowledge that the problem exists. I think that this principle can be applied to networking. Acknowledging that networking is awkward can help you feel a little more at ease knowing that everyone in the room feels the same way.
  2. Have 5 questions on hand. It’s always hard to get a conversation rolling when you don’t know someone. Having five questions prepared in advance will help you more easily start talking with a person that you have never met.
  3. Know yourself. In any networking workshop, you learn about the elevator pitch. The elevator pitch is a 30 second explanation for who you are, what you do, and why you are at the event. End your elevator pitch with a question to get the other person talking.
  4. Have mints on hand. Knowing you have minty fresh breath can help you feel more comfortable when you are talking with someone face-to-face in close proximity.
  5. Give yourself a goal. If you are more introverted and find the idea of staying at an event for longer than a half hour difficult, it can be helpful to give yourself a goal. Networking doesn’t mean that you need to meet everyone in a room, it just means that you want to meet people that can help you on your professional path by giving you information, advice, or helping you meet others in your area of interest. Giving yourself a goal of meeting 3 people is a good way to start. Once you meet your goal you can always leave.

If you would like more information about how to network, here are a few articles:

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