Networking is the key to opening up new doors in your future career. Although I’m sure many of us can admit to at least some anxiety when it comes to meeting new people, we all practice networking on a daily basis without even knowing it.
On February 10th, WOU’s Service Learning & Career Development center is hosting a “Networking Social Hour” in the Werner University Center. Set up like the “speed dating” of networking, WOU alumni will be grouped with current students to engage in conversation about life after college. This is a great opportunity to practice your relationship building techniques that will one day help you land that dream job.
If you’re interested in attending, or just looking to brush up on your networking skills anyway, here’s a few tips to keep in mind:
1. Always arrive on time. It’s a great habit to possess for many reasons, but in a networking environment it’s actually a better strategy than showing up “fashionably” late. Think about it: which scenario seems more intimidating to you? A room full of people already engaging in their own conversations or a room with a few people looking to start one up? Showing up early makes the party come to you!
2. Try to make a genuine connection. Make it fun! At least at first, try to put aside the thoughts of getting a job or making a sale or anything else formal. Be in the moment and just try to have a fun conversation with the person across from you. People are more likely to do business with those whose company they enjoy.
3. Be a good listener. It’s easy to start rambling when you’re nervous. Repeat people’s names to them and keep good eye contact.
4. Follow up! Did your really hit it off with someone? Even if there wasn’t a job or sale possible, building relationships for the future is what networking is all about. Get email addresses or phone numbers and follow up later with those you made a connection with.
5. Have fun! This part is so important, it’s worth saying twice. Stop stressing yourself out about it and just enjoy your surroundings! People love people who are having fun. Just be yourself and everything else will fall into place.
I hope these tips come in handy at your next opportunity to meet new people. But remember, you’re already networking even when you don’t know it. When you go to work, go to club meetings, or to a family reunion, you’re building relationships.
If you’d like to reserve a spot at Monday’s “World After WOU Networking Social Hour”, drop by the SLCD office in the Werner University Center room 119, email email@example.com, or call 503-838-8432 for more info. Appetizers and mocktails will be served and the event starts at 5pm.