Alyssa McCarthy, Region IV-W SAC
October 24, 2017
Picture this: you’re reading an event description - maybe for a conference, a campus event, or maybe even an event with a prospective employer. There’s a word that keeps popping up in all of these descriptions. It’s always emphasized: A unique opportunity! You won’t want to miss this! That word? Networking.
What exactly IS Networking, anyhow? How do I do it? And why should I care?
These tips will help you capitalize on your opportunities, maximize your potential, and finally, finally understand what that word actually MEANS.
Let’s start with the basics: our friend Webster defines networking as “the exchange of information or services among individuals, groups, or institutions; specifically :the cultivation of productive relationships for employment or business”
Wait a minute…”The exchange of information among individuals?” Isn’t that just..talking? Yep. Networking isn’t a confusing ceremony or secret ritual conducted behind closed doors at business meetings – it’s something you do every day.
Okay, so we’ve covered what networking is. How should we, as students, peer educators, and young professionals, use this tool? It’s easier than you think, and here are five tips to get you started:
Talk to people you don’t know. Yep, that’s right. That counts. Maybe you admire the purse of the person next to you on the elevator. Maybe your favorite band is on someone’s t-shirt. Or, maybe, you just like meeting new people at the airport. Networking is all of those things.
**Talking to people is not always as easy as it sounds, especially if you feel like you have nothing to say. This article might be helpful!**
Share ideas and feedback with others. Let’s say you listen to a stellar conference presentation, and you want to tell the presenter how much you enjoyed their session. Or maybe you thought of way to apply their presentation to your campus, but you’re unsure if it will work. Sharing these ideas or giving feedback to presenters is a great way to network with them!
Keep “networking notes”. For all you serious networkers out there, keep notes of the people you meet! Collect business cards, email addresses, or even just names. Try to note their name, institution, and position if possible, plus one fact to help you remember them! (Ex: “Cool glasses”, “talked to at breakfast on Friday”, “bonded in the bathroom line”). Be sure to give out your information too!
Push yourself out of your comfort zone. You knew it was coming - networking involves NEW people, not the people you came with! Set a goal of meeting two new people a day, or eating one meal a day without your peer education group. You’ll be surprised how fast you meet people.
Bring campus stickers, buttons, or pins and give them to folks who you appreciated during the conference! These tokens of appreciation or pieces of fair is something new that the conference is kicking off this year. It’s a great way to start conversation with others while showing them that you loved their presentation, appreciated them helping someone, or just wanted to really dress up their name badge. You’ll be networking before you know it!
Well, folks, General Assembly is another of those networking opportunities, and it’s right around the corner! I can’t wait to meet, I mean, network with you all. Follow us on Twitter or Instagram at @BACCHUS_SAC to keep up with all the SAC at GA. See you soon!
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