Sometimes you can’t avoid walking into a room of strangers. And this, likely next to death, public speaking and snakes, evokes our greatest fears when it comes to networking.
So let’s see if we can’t relieve a few fears – and misunderstandings about IRL networking situations.
First off: understand why you have chosen to be in the room! When you understand why you’re there (i.e. to gain information, to hear a speaker, etc.) you’re immediately in a more positive, and relaxed mindset than stepping into the complete unknown. If the event is a mandatory one (or “highly recommended” which is code word for mandatory) and you’re unsure of the event’s purpose, ask! Ask the organizers or sponsors to tell you more, so you walk in with understanding of the event’s purpose.
Second: do some research on the event or its organizers or sponsors before the event. A quick review of the website can be all it takes to gain sufficient insights to put your mind at ease. Dig deeper if the organization is one you’re intrigued by or have a high interest in. Research empowers you to ask better questions and as you’re in information gathering mode at this point in your career, put in some work before each event.
Third: the conversations and introductions you make at an event are the starting point of building a relationship or making a connection. It may seem obvious at this point as you face a school calendar filled with industry receptions and information sessions, however, at some point you may be tempted to view initial exchanges in other ways and when that happens, I want you to come back to this point. Don’t fret if a conversation is cut short or you don’t get to meet someone at an event. All is not lost! And we’ll address how to make those missed connections in the next blog post in this college content series.
For more IRL networking tips, go to: