During my orientation program, we did quite a bit of networking. I’ve always heard about the power and effectiveness of networking in developing a career. I just want to emphasize how true that is, even though it’s really hard for some of us to do. I find myself feeling very estranged and alone during these events :). So here are some of the things I do during meetings / conferences to start networking:
- Make up my mind (important!!!) to go to a person and introduce myself.
- Keep thinking to myself that there’s nothing to lose.
- Walk to the person from the front and look at them so they know you’re planning on talking to them.
- Before the person can think or do anything, say hi, offer a handshake and introduce myself. If you walk slowly towards the person and avoid eye contact, they might move out of the way, and you could lose your confidence and avoid them altogether.
- Ask them open ended questions, like where they work, where they live, how’d they get here, what they think of the meeting, etc. Most likely they’ll ask you the same questions and you can then begin to relax and think of stuff to talk about.
I’m not saying I’m an expert at this or anything, and I still do go to the washrooms 5 to 6 times during breaks because I can’t seem to find anyone alone to talk to (group conversations are more intimidating to break into. I’ll have to learn to do that), but if there’s one person doing the same thing as me, or not doing anything, I’ve learnt to go to them and have a conversation. Don’t forget to exchange information and keep in touch. Try to help that person out as much as you can, you never know when this person might be able to help you out in turn.
On a final note, after talking to lots of new people and exchanging ideas during the last 2 days, I find myself full of new ideas and things to do. I guess meeting new people and building relations do have a way of promoting creative thoughts in your mind.