The School of Economics will be holding their annual Alumni Networking Evening on the 14th March, with this in mind the Careers Service have given a few networking tips to help our students.
Networking doesn’t have to be awkward or stressful. Attending a networking event can be overwhelming but it should be enjoyable.
Follow the tips below to get the most out of it
* Write and practice your elevator pitch. This should be a 30 second introduction covering
- Who you are
- What you do
- Your goals after graduating.
People at networking events can be extremely busy and bombarded with people wanting to speak to them. So being prepared with your pitch can help you feel more confident introducing yourself on the night.
* Look at the list of alumni attending and the short biographies of students that will be sent out. Ensure you prepare questions to ask especially if an alumni works for an organisation you are interested in, or has undertaken a year in industry, MSc or PhD which you would like to undertake as well. If you are interested in working for an organisation which is being represented by one of our alumni make sure you do your research on the organisation.
* Smile - smiling will help you feel confident and look confident even if you do not feel it inside. Nerves can make some people lose their manners, don’t interrupt people or forget to introduce yourself!
* Shake people’s handsand say ‘Nice to meet you’
* To end a conversation simply say politely ‘It has been good to meet you. I better pop around and meet a few more people before the end of the evening.’
* Make some business cards. As a student you might not think to make business cards, but it’s a great way of giving someone your details. Include your name, email, telephone number and LinkedIn, Twitter or blog details if you have them. Hand these out to potential new contacts, although know when it is appropriate to share your business card, generally if a person wants your business card ask for it. Make sure you ask for their business card where appropriate.
* Dress appropriately but comfortably
* Speak slowly and don’t feel like you have to fill in gaps in conversation
* Maintain eye contact- if this is difficult look at the persons nose- they will think you are looking them in the eye
* At the beginning of the evening set yourself a goal of who you would like to chat to that evening and don’t leave until you have done this.
* Follow up connections you have made promptly after the event using LinkedIn or email if they have given you their email address.