There was a time when I didn’t go to places by myself and if I did go I would just keep to myself hoping an opportunity would present itself. Now to see myself as someone who can go to events by themselves and speak to everyone in the room has been a great transformation. If you’re interested in learning how to get yourself out there, here are some helpful networking tips.
1.Get yourself out there
There are plenty of events to attend especially living in Houston, there is literally always something going on. Whether it is a campus event or an event out in the city you’re sure to find at least one event to attend each week. Simply by looking up “events in Houston” will give you a wide variety of events to choose from.
2. Work the Room
When attending events it is so important to speak to as many people as you can. Don’t just attend the event to say you went, make the best of your time there and introduce yourself to as many people as possible. You never know who you may meet, who someone may know or what opportunities they might have to offer you.
-As college students it is so easy for us to start conversations. Simply by stating that you’re a college student, comes with a ton of follow up questions after. “What college do you attend?” “What are you going to school for?” “What do you want to do after college?” saying you’re in college is always an easy icebreaker.
-Simply state who you are. We are who we are for a reason, and there are tons of interesting facts about us that people don’t know. Share those things, and start off with the basics. Name, where you’re from, and what you do.
– Small talk is always a good way to start the conversation find out things you have in common. Even starting with the simple fact that you are attending the same event as them. So stating something about the event is an easy way to start small talk.
3. Collect business cards
After attending so many events and meeting a lot of business professionals you’ll get a ton of business cards! Instead of just taking them and throwing them away, collect them. You’ll come across a lot of people that you meet and sometimes it is impossible to remember everyone and all that they do. By collecting business cards you can go back and see who they are and what it is they have to offer. You never know when you might need someone so it is always good to keep them for reference.
4. Carry business cards
As a young business professional it is so important to keep a business card on you, even if it is as simple as having your name, major and contact information on it. It’s a give and take method, they give you their business card and you take it and give them yours. You never know who they might know, and they may be able to take your information and pass it along to someone else. Plus it looks super professional!
5. Follow up
This is probably one of the most important tips, if you attend the event, and follow the ‘give and take method’ but don’t follow up all of your hard work has gone to waste. Follow up with people after you’ve met them. Even if no opportunity was originally presented you should still send a follow up email to create a relationship that might be mutually beneficial in the future. It can be as simple as “Thank you for taking the time out to speak with me, I enjoyed talking with you yesterday. Please keep in contact and let me know of any future opportunities.”
Smile, be yourself and engage in every conversation! Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there. The best time to get yourselves out there is NOW. Opportunities are created not given and sometimes things don’t just fall into our laps we have to work for it. So get out, work hard and network!