Tips for Networking
My first Cornell’s Women’s Networking Event was just around the corner and I had no idea what to expect. Since I’m new to Cornell, this was just one more thing I could try to see what benefits it had. If you read my last article, you probably know that I am a huge fan of networking. So 1.2 miles and a half hour later, I’m entering a building I’ve never been in and meeting people I’ve never met before.
The night started off with dinner and several women that I quickly became acquainted with. They were all very nice and open to talking about who they were and what they were doing. Next, a guest speaker gave some remarks about networking, and then we broke into groups. We talked around desserts and reconvened at the end of the night to give feedback on the event. Nothing lost, but everything gained.
So, after the event had finished, I came home and thought about what to expect from a networking event and what can make your experience as enjoyable as mine.
Tip #1. Attend Solo
Riding solo was actually a great idea. I was able to put myself out there and have conversations with a variety of people. I was able to open myself up and meet a plethora of individuals including a Cornell alumni who will be teaching a nutrition class next semester, a Lebanese graduate student in Chemistry, a graduating senior in ILR, and an Armenian undergraduate in HBHS who had been to more countries than I could count.
Tips #2. Be Genuine
Most people at networking events have consciously let their guards down and are interested in meeting new people. So let your guard down, and prepare to meet amazing people.
Tip #3. Talk to Many
Because this was an event that featured alumni, I tried to capitalize on that as much as I could. They are very knowledgeable and since I have limited access to them, I knew this was my opportunity to talk to them. Personally, I would advise speaking to those who are older than yourself. Most of the time they are willing to share their stories as well as talk about their career paths and where it has taken them.
It was incredible to see how easy it was to get along with everyone around me. Everyone had a story and they were all so willing to share. Before I knew it, 2 hours flew by, and I had met some amazing women.
Tip #4. Talk less, Say more
I don’t recall there being an awkward conversation throughout the whole night. As we all know, people are rather good at talking about themselves. In spite of this, I was able to capture the table for a few minutes as I discussed myself. However, for the rest of the night, I tried to focus on the people around me. I wanted to know more about them, and where there experiences had led them.
Talking less can also lead to new opportunities in the future to share more about yourself.
Tip #5. Follow Up
If you met someone interesting throughout the night, you should plan on giving out and getting business cards, feel free to ask if you can email or add them on Facebook. This simple step can do wonders for you. If you’re interested in meeting with them in the future, a simple follow-up e-mail immediately following the event will cement you in their memory.
Ultimately, events like these can bring us together as one and open doors we didn’t know were possible. A simple act of courage can be enlightening. So, take time to put yourself out there, and prepared to be amazed.