After a crazy weekend filled with events, goodies, and amazing panelists I’m left feeling motivated and empowered. While I was quickly writing any piece of advice panelists could offer in my small black journal, I knew I had to share everything I learned this weekend. I’ve always thrown myself at any opportunities that have crossed my way. Networking events are more of my playground now, and not a battlefield like they had been before.
Attending these types of events by yourself can be awkward, intimidating, and confusing. I learned that the hard way. Putting yourself in situations that force you to come out your shell is what I find the most useful in long-term self-growth. So get out there and hand out those business cards!
But before you do, here are some quick pieces of advice.
Don’t just network from the top, network across as well
Some of the greatest connections I’ve made have been created while waiting on a line, standing next to each other while listening to panelists, and following each other on socials. These connections are so important because your peers are the ones you’ll be working with. Don’t look at them as competitors instead as colleagues you can collaborate with.
Instead of being the best, be YOUR best
All weekend long the term, “personal brand” has been tossed around. It’s hard to stand out when you’re applying to the same internship 500 other students are applying to as well. But it’s essential to remember that you have to stop comparing yourself to the image you think the “best” looks like and instead, show your potential and ability to grow.
I’ll admit, I’m constantly doubting myself and my skill sets but I remind myself to be confident in the work that I do, and mistakes are how we learn.
Network with everyone
I don’t mean to repeat myself but seriously, network with everyone! The panelists, your peers, and if there are any activations or fun booths network with those people too! You never know who has connections they can share. Don’tforget people absolutely looooove talking about themselves. So asking questions like “What school do you go to?” “What’s your major?’ “What are you doing this summer” are easy questions that can lead to even greater conversations.
Be short, sweet, and simple
Whether your pitching yourself or an idea get straight to the point. If your standing there talking to a panelist, chances are there’s a line behind you and everyone else is waiting for their turn. You want to make sure you’re remembered,but you also don’t want to be remembered as the person who took up all their time. So plan out what you’re going to say beforehand, shake their hand while making direct eye contact, and mention that you’d like to continue the conversation via email. My icing on the cake? Handing them my business card. Since business cards are slowly becoming obsolete you’ll most likely be the only person or only few to hand them a business card.
So, what are you waiting for? Go on and start googling those networking events, and attend the ones your school may have. Building bridges can only connect you further to where you’d like to be.
P.S Make sure to connect with me via LinkedIn and comment any networking tips you might have! 😉