As a college student or a graduate you probably meet people in class, at club meetings, sports events, talks, seminars, conferences, during internships or at social events that are an inseparable part of university life. It may be a case of meeting external speakers coming to your student organization or a barbecue with some faculty members.
Take advantage of all events
These are not “networking events” designed to help you in professional life. No one will be waving a business card in your face and often they will feel very casual. Yet many students miss an important point: these events are as valuable as any intentionally networking event can be. They help you meet new people or catch up with someone you haven’t talked to in a while and they do so whilst giving you some common ground and a starting point for conversation.
Yet just meeting someone and then never talking to them again is not useful in itself. You want to be able to keep in touch with the people you meet, to share ideas and maybe build a longer-lasting relationship.
Here are 5 things to do immediately after an event:
1. Add the people you met on Facebook and/or LinkedIn
This is especially useful if you don’t have their email address as both these networks let you search by name. Plus it gives you opportunity to contact them even if they graduate, change jobs or move to a different city as their profile on these networks will simply incorporate such changes.
Tip: Create a list called “Professional” on Facebook and customise what contacts in this list can see from your Facebook profile.
Do this right away, or the next day, but don’t wait too long. This is an opportunity to remind them about the recent meeting and a chance to “re-introduce” yourself whilst the meeting is still in their fresh memory and they remember who you are.
Tip: Include a link to your blog or profiles online so that they can find out more about you.
3. Include something personalized
Was there something from your conversation that you can comment on? Did they maybe mention an upcoming job interview that you could wish them good luck for? Or a recent success that you can congratulate them on?
If you promised to do something during your conversation, be sure to deliver. For example: “Hi Joe, It was great to meet you yesterday. Hope the job interview goes well next week and here’s a link to the article I mentioned in our conversation…”
4. Jot down important points from your conversation
While the conversation is fresh in your mind, jot down any important information or facts that you may need in a follow-up. This could include the topics that you talked about, the name of the school they go to or what clubs they are involved in, any names of friends or relatives or events they mentioned. This will allow you to be topical and to refer to specifics in your next conversation.
We all like to feel special when we notice someone took the effort to remember bits of information about us.
5. Set yourself a follow-up reminder
Use your calendar or to-do list and set up a reminder for a week/a month or whatever is appropriate in the future when you will get in touch again and see if there’s anything you could do for them.
Get in the habit of doing these and you’ll set yourself up for some great relationships.
What do you do to take advantage of various events? Do you have any tips to add?
Anna is a Social Media Marketing Assistant at Pepsmedia, based in Cambridge, UK. Having graduated from the University of Cambridge in 2010 with a degree in Social and Political Sciences, she joined the small team straight out of university and is now helping businesses engage with customers online and build communities. She is passionate about the use of social media both in business and for individuals. To find out more, read her Life With Social Media blog, or connect with her on Twitter @annamanasova and LinkedIn.