I stumbled upon this article about networking: 19 Tips That Will Make You a Networking Master
Stand-outs from the article, for me:
- Set a goal for each event
- eg. meet 5 new people, start 3 conversations
- Ask open-ended questions (I’ve read this elsewhere as well)
- How’d you get started v. How long have you worked there?
- What do you like to do outside of work?
- Use a non-awkward closer
- “It’s been so great chatting with you, but I have a few more people to connect with.”
- Get contact info and jot down notes about each person/conversation
But the tip that stood out the most to me: Start your own networking event
Invite 3 friends, and ask them each to invite 3 friends.
I think the professional benefit of this type of social event is limited depending on the shared career interests of the group, but who doesn’t like to make friends even if they’re in a completely different industry? My sister and I met a couple during a reception and although these two ladies were in completely different fields than us (teaching English and undecided entrepreneurship) we had a lovely, lively conversation that lasted the whole night. Even though they most likely won’t be able to help us with our job searches, I wouldn’t say it was a waste of an opportunity to meet others who could potentially connect me with someone in my field. It’s not everyday you meet someone (or sometwos) at a networking event that you can get along with so jolly well.
Also, I have heard many people mention a unique characteristic of university life that seems to elude later life stages. That is: the ability to meet so many new people in a safe, open-minded environment. Sure, you can resort to online dating, Meetups, or friendly-like people you encounter at bars/pubs… but it’s not quite the same. With this type of networking event, you can expand your social and professional circles in a safe, creative way.