Networking the Right Way: 8 Tips For Success
SAMM is eagerly awaiting the upcoming networking highlight event for Semester 1, the Annual Networking Night (ANN) to be held on Wednesday, March 28 at Rydges on Exhibition at 6.30pm! There will be opportunities to mingle with representatives from large companies such as L’Oréal and PwC and discover what they are seeking in prospective interns or successful grad job applicants. Put your best foot forward, whether it be SAMM’s ANN or any other networking event with these tips for success!
Dress code – For the SAMM Networking event, the dress code will be business attire. A nice business suit, shirt and tie ensemble is always a good idea for male attendees, and for female attendees, a business jacket with a matching skirt or pants, and a blouse always looks professional and smart! A polished, professional look is so important when meeting business professionals, as instantly you look ‘put together,’ organised and capable! It’s also a good idea to arrive around 15 minutes earlier to events a sit’s better to arrive earlier than later, and there will be a greater chance of getting to mingle with representatives in smaller groups (or maybe even one-on-one) at the start of the event than later in the evening.
Conversation – Networking is all about relationship building, so try and keep the conversation informal and light, and suggest topics that are easy to discuss. You could start the conversation with “May I join you?” or simply introduce yourself. If a representative asks about your field of study or area of interest, be ready with an easy description of your course or field you would like to pursue. Before the event, have a mental list of recent accomplishments you have achieved in study (awards, or completed projects) or work experience (extracurriculars, internships, etc), so you can include them in the conversation. Also, it’s important to share your passion about what it is that you most love, relating to your study, work or area of interest. Find out what it is that they are passionate about in their line of work, too, as this will make for a memorable exchange.
Don’t ask for a job – This is never a good idea at a networking event. You shouldn’t do the ‘hard sell’ within a few minutes of meeting a representative. The most important thing is to get the conversation started. Remember, businesspeople are more inclined to remember you (if a professional position becomes available) if they enjoyed your company.
How to act – At a networking event, it’s important to smile and be positive, and leave your nerves and negativity at the door! In addition to this, being a successful networker is all about making others feel special, so maintain eye contact, listen to what they say, say their name, and don’t dominate the conversation.
Don’t give out a card, or swap LinkedIn profiles – Again, a networking event isn’t about the ‘hard sell,’ as the mood should be kept light and informal.
Prepare questions – This is a great opportunity to find out what representatives are looking for in a successful internship and grad job applicants. You could also ask them what they enjoy most about their line of work, and about their own transition from study to work. Again, it’s always important to find out others’ passion, as this keeps the conversation engaging, and memorable.
Etiquette – Always remember to be respectful and polite when addressing representatives, and not pushy or intrusive. Make them feel welcome, respected and special, and you should develop a great rapport!
Don’t drink too much – Of course, it goes without saying, nobody likes a sloppy drunk! This is true in most social situations, but it’s especially important in a professional business networking setting. So, no pre-drinks, and it’s always a good idea to line your stomach with some food first, before having one or two drinks. Remember, it’s always important to look professional, confident, and capable. Creating a lasting, positive impression is paramount at these events. Then, if the exchange was positive with a representative, you may keep in contact with them by adding them on LinkedIn, after the event!
We hope these tips prove useful when it comes to successful networking, either at the SAMM ANN, or future networking events. Happy Networking!