Written By: Katie Gu
Networking! Networking! Networking!
The dreaded word all first years come across but don’t know what to do with (or just any student, regardless of year, let’s be honest).
But, don’t fret. Women in Business has got your back!
We prepared a list of tips and tricks that you should always have up your sleeve; no matter where you are. You never know where you might bump into your ideal business connection. It could even happen during your daily commute to classes!
1. Prepare, Prepare, Prepare!
Research the attendees, who they work for and find the people you want to talk to.
2. Develop your Elevator Pitch.
Time to get to know yourself well. Have a brief opener about yourself. Have an understanding of what you do, why, for who and what makes you different from others (and you should be able to easily articulate this to others).
3. Set a Goal for yourself.
Network with intention! Ask yourself what your goals are when participating in networking meetings so you can pick groups and people that will help you, and only get you what you need.
4. Be Genuine & Authentic.
Be genuinely interested in them and their story. (Remember networking is about building trust and relationships!)
5. Listen! Listen! Listen!
People love talking about themselves, ask them more! Ask insightful, meaningful questions like something about their job and their interests in the event. But then, really listen to the answers! You can have the most insignificant thing in common (like your mutual hatred for coffee that they mentioned in passing?) and you will have the spark you need to connect!
6. Ask open-ended questions.
Ask the Who, What, When, Where and How instead of questions which would only get you simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answers. Before going to an event it’s always good to have a laundry list of discussion questions (read till the end, if you are too lazy to create one, and want to just use ours!)
7. Don’t neglect the ‘Follow-Up’.
Get their details! Shamelessly ask, if you can add them on LinkedIn (You will rarely hear a no, we promise). Send them a message after the event to express that you enjoyed your conversation, and to ensure they can’t forget YOU!
8. Be Yourself!
And of course, last but not least, it’s not just about completely changing yourself to fit the job or company but also making sure that the job or company are the RIGHT for YOU (we had to bring in the cheese!).
Now go forth and conquer your next Networking event (and score that Internship)!
Still stuck? Don’t worry we have also prepared a bunch a Laundry Questions and Statements you can throw at them or use as a conversation starter!
- What brought you here today?
- What’s your latest project?
- What’s the biggest challenge you are facing right now in your business?
- How did you get started in your business?
- What do you enjoy most about what you do?
- What advice would you give to someone just starting out, like me?
- What are you passionate about?
- And, lastly just a simple “how about you?” or a “that sounds interesting, do tell me more…” can be great initiators of discussions.
Hope this crash course on “networking” helped you out a little! What tip did you find the most helpful? Do you have more questions about “Networking” – let us know!