A woman named Trisha came in to give us a talk and some advice on how to network effectively. Some of the points I took away from the session:
- A handshake is a good way to open. It breaks the ice and shows mutual respect. It can also be a good way to exit when you’re ready to move on.
- Approach people at all levels, not just potential employers. You never know what you might pick up from people.
- Condense who you are and what you do down into a “30 second CV” and use that as your conversation starter. Try not to sound indecisive in your phrasing.
- Don’t overdo the alchohol
- If you attend an event with friends don’t stay grouped together. It puts people off approaching you and limits who you are able to approach.
- Prioritize people you really want to talk to and don’t be afraid to hover if they’re already engaged.
- Try to relax and take deep breaths if you’re nervous about talking
- Try to recreate a frame of mind in which you feel calm and confident.
- Research key people you expect to talk to. Ask questions that show that you know something about them already, and try to phrase them in a way that flatters.
- Try to ensure every meeting includes an exchange of some sort. Be it leaving them a business card, asking for portfolio feedback, or offering your time in some way.
- Be concise and don’t be afraid to move on if you don’t feel as though you’re getting anywhere.
- Take some hand sanitizer. I got sick almost immediately after this talk and blame excessive handshaking as the cause.