While it may seem premature to be networking in the strictest sense during one’s undergraduate career, it’s never too early to acquire the skills you’ll need later on. Beyond the walls of your university or college, networking will be one of most significant skills you’ll need to master in order to guarantee a job in your respective field.
While we tend to imagine shaking hands with people in suits when we think of networking, it is ultimately so much more than this vulgar stereotype. Networking can involve anything and everything social – from making a friend at a mixer, all the way to connecting with a professor you found interesting at a guest lecture. Because you never know what opportunities people will have for you down the line as they build their own network, each and every individual you meet is fair game for productive networking.
Networking, in other words, is both a selfish and selfless act – while you may, sometime down the line, need a favour from someone, you’re still need to make a genuine connection with another human being, whether your intentions are formal or informal.
As a budding post-secondary student, however, doing these kinds of amicable acrobatics can be quite overwhelming. This is especially true of teens that are leaving high school, only to directly go on to study at a university or college. The following will therefore outline a few ways to go about making authentic relationships with others.
- Planning Goes a Long Way
When speaking with others, it’s important to remember what you’ve set out to do. Whether you’re at a party or a work mixer, be sure to always strive for genuine connectivity. This means that you’ll need to, at some point, get an acquaintance’s information. In this sense, it’s necessary to understand not only how many people you feel should talk to in one night, but how much time you can allot for conversing with different individuals. Without timing and logistics in order, you can easily overwhelm yourself with frivolous conversations that go on for longer than expected. That’s why you need to plan ahead – it’s never good to attend a party unprepared.
Finally, you need to be clear about the nature of the get together – if it is a casual party, don’t overdo the networking aspects of the night, lest you alienate people by seeming like you have ulterior motives. If it’s an event that caters to networking, don’t behave too informally and read the room as much as possible. The most effective connections are made by maintaining a certain awareness of your surroundings.
- Practice, Practice, Practice
Going out, however, can be quite time-consuming. If networking gets in the way of your studies, you may need to seek external guidance from experts in education, or even get professional writing help to ensure that you finish the paper that’s due the morning after a lively networking event; for instance, the experts at Homework Help Global will guarantee your schoolwork won’t get lost in the shuffle of socializing.
- Try to Stand Out
When at a social gathering, demonstrate that you have something to offer – be it a quirky personality or the sheer force of social capital, make it known that you and only you should be the centre of attention. By being the life of the party – within reason – you’ll attract more and more people that will want to be a part of your ever-growing network.
While standing out is important, it’s also necessary to limit the amount of space and energy you take up. Be sure to listen before you speak and make your interlocuters feel as comfortable and safe as possible. With these tips in mind, you’ll surely become a success at just about every social gathering and the horizons of your network will expand beyond your wildest dreams.