Networking Tips for Professional Meetings
You will be networking the rest of your professional career. While it may seem awkward at first it is actually fun! Just follow some simple rules.
1. If you are going overseas and do not know local customs, ASK! The following tips are for US and Canadian events.
2. Be on time! If you cannot make it because of an emergency have the common courtesy to call in your regrets.
3. If in doubt what to wear to an event, ASK! If you cannot find anyone to ask, dress up not down.
4.Be warm but formal in greetings. they will tell you when to call them by their first name. Address people by the titles they earned as this is a sign of respect.
5. Listen to what people say! Learning is about listening.
6. Do NOT presume that gender or age defines roles. Treat all people with respect and it will most likely be returned in full.
7. Look people in the eyes when you talk to them. Say in a clear voice, "Hello, I am ______ from _______ "and offer your hand. In the United States and Canada handshakes should be firm and brief, not bone crushing, limp or lingering.
8.If they offer you a business card, read it before you put it away. Offer one in return if you can, but if unable, say, "I am sorry I do not have a card with me." We will make you business cards in the T&L office and you should get some at the start of each school year.
9. You should ask someone new if you might join him or her for dinner. Do not be discouraged if their table is full and they turn you down. Just select an empty seat at any table. Introduce yourself to everyone at the table. Do NOT sit at a table full of students from your own university. You already know them. You will not learn new concepts from them and you will have wasted your valuable time by not networking.
10. Manners are the lubricant that keeps a society running smoothly. Use them. Your table manners will be observed so if you are uncertain about your expertise in this area ask for advice ahead of time and attend the UW-Superior etiquette dinners. The purpose of a business dinner is to meet and dine, NOT to chow down so eat slowly and take moderate amounts. I would caution against drinking alcohol at events unless in very small amounts. You should be clear headed at all times in public settings.
Ten Questions for Dinner
1. What made you choose this profession?
2. What is your current position? If they gave you their card you should know this.
3. What type of responsibilities does your current position entail?
4. What do you like about your current position?
5. What types of positions have you held priod to your current position?
6. What travels does your position take you on?
7. What is the most interesting place you have traveled to on work or for a vacation?
8. Do you attend the annual conference of this organization? What is it like?
9. Where do you think the growth area is in this profession?
10. What do you think of (current topic in this profession)?
You do not have to run through the list of questions. However, they will help you from feeling that you do not know what to ask next. You can ask these same questions of everyone at the table and obtain a wide range of answers.
Things you should know!
You should be able to explain your major in detail.
You should know your major's website.
Never talk ill of your University or classmate, this talk only makes you look bad.
Be able to tell them what interests you and what you would like to learn.
Do not try to impress people and never tell even a little lie.
Like Mark Twain said, "Always tell the truth, if nothing else it is easier to remember."