Networking for the New Year

January 3, 2010 at 11:29 am 5 comments

In the first few days of 2010, many of us will make resolutions. “Networking more” may be one of them. But are you doing what’s necessary to keep this resolution?

Develop a Prep Routine

Treat a networking event like a first date. Put a little extra effort into your appearance by taking a little more time to primp and prep. Make sure to wear clothes that not only look spectacular, but have a spectacular fit as well. When you look good, you feel good. And when you feel good, other people can tell.

Leave Hesitation at the Door

Do you ever get that flushed, dizzy feeling before you walk into a place with a lot of new people? No? Congratulations. But if you’re like me, you get at least a slight wave of nausea and nervousness before walking into a room full of strangers. Do whatever it is you need to do to get rid of the first-time jitters, whether it means visualizing yourself at the event, giving yourself a pep talk, or belting out rock songs in your car (I’m guilty of the latter). Imagine that nervousness dripping off you like water off a rain coat, leaving a giant puddle by the front door. Now just be your wonderful, sparkling self.

Act the Part

The best advice I’ve ever gotten is “Fake it until you make it:” even if you’re still feeling a little nervous after and not very outgoing, pretend to be! No will know you feel like hiding and even after a while, you might even forget it yourself. When you’re at the event, be aware of your body language; avoid scowling and crossing your arms. Smile a lot, but with caution. You don’t want people wondering “who is that creepy kid who has been beaming at me all night?”

Embrace Small Talk

Don’t wait for people to come to you, you need to go to them! If you recognize someone, go introduce yourself. Even if you don’t see a single familiar face, wander from conversation to conversation and politely interject. Ask questions and give compliments. With a little dash of confidence, small talk won’t seem so much like small talk.

Network Responsibly

If the event is at a bar or place where alcohol is available, make sure to only limit yourself to a drink or two. You don’t want to be that guy or girl making a drunken fool of himself or herself. Also, keep flirting to a minimum. This is a networking event, not a singles bar. Be wary of TMI; you just met these people, they don’t want to deal with your dirty laundry. Keep topics of discussion professional and positive.

Maintain the Relationship

Don’t let the networking stop once you leave! Ask for peoples’ card once the conversation starts to wane. Bring a pen and small pad of paper and ask for their social networking IDs (twitter handle, LinkedIn, Facebook, etc) if it’s not already on their business card. And don’t forget to give them your business card or social networking IDs so they can contact you too!

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Entry filed under: Beyond the Campus Bubble. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , .

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5 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Rowena Briones  |  January 3, 2010 at 1:42 pm

    Great tips Mikinzie! I have also found that taking the initiative and actively seeking out networking opportunities is important to greatly increasing your contact base, as these opportunities will not just come to you – you have to be proactive in finding them yourself! By joining organizations such as PRSA or going to Tweetups, you can attend several different networking events held by these organizations and meet more professionals along the way – which can then hopefully lead to setting up informational interviews with these pros to learn more about what they do.

    Also, love the “fake it until you make it” mantra – I definitely have used that many times in my experiences, especially when I’m feeling nervous or shy at a networking event!

    Overall great post! Keep them coming!

    Reply
  • 2. belladomain  |  January 4, 2010 at 3:56 pm

    LUV this truly helpful post and want to offer that my favorite new opener at networking events is, “What are you working on these days?” It easy for anyone to answer, and since listening is what you need to do before you can be helpful, it enables folks to talk about what THEY want to talk about. I have some Networking Myths that might be helpful for your readers to review too here on this blog post – http://belladomain.wordpress.com/2009/12/16/networking-myths-debunked/

    Happy New Year and Happy Networking all!
    Sandy Jones-Kaminski, Author
    I’m at a Networking Event–Now What???

    Reply
  • 3. thatShortChick  |  January 7, 2010 at 7:41 pm

    I just posted my PR goals for the year over at my blog and I’m going to really focus on networking this year – it’s so important and great opportunities can come from a quick meeting!

    p.s. I found your blog via twitter and I love what I’ve been reading so far!

    Reply
  • […] University in Michigan, runs a popular blog for PR students called “The PRep Guide.” In this post, she gives practical tips for students attending networking events. While her tips are geared […]

    Reply
  • […] By giving tips and offering the personal accounts of recent job seekers, we give resources regarding networking and proof that networking can lead to job search success: Both recent graduates we interviewed credited some of the connections they made through networking with professionals with leading them to the job they currently hold. There are a variety of events in which students might need networking skills, like internships, career fairs or special networking events, and our post connects students with tips on how to thrive in such situations. […]

    Reply

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