You will achieve very little if you work in isolation. The people you meet have a direct influence on your success. That being said, here are six rules for networking every student should know;
1. The way you dress is how you will be addressed
When you attend networking session, make the extra effort to dress in the most appealing way. Students are often nonchalant with the way they dress especially for corporate events. You don’t need to be told that it is absolutely necessary to wear a blazer to a corporate event. You are attracted to people by the way you dress. Remember, first impression matters most.
2. Have specific ice-breakers for difference events
This is where most students have difficulty. You need to carefully read this article and apply these rules. Networking takes practice, you have to act it out. First, have an eye contact with the person you want to network with, this creates the connection, then you should reach out. Don’t wait for people to talk to you make the first move. For example, you could say
Hi, I am Richard, what part of the programme did you enjoy most? You can say, Hello, I am Richard, nice to meet you, what is your name?
3. Talk with confidence and authority
People will measure your ability of a subject matter by the way you talk about it. After initiating a conversation, you need to maintain it by talking with authority and articulating your thoughts with confidence. You should play to your strength, talk about things you are vast knowledge about. You can imagine talking with the CEO of first bank and stating wrong statistics about the banking sector, straightaway he thinks of you as a blabber.
4. Have a complimentary card
After you have finish a conversation with someone you just meet, you will probably want to keep the relationship even after the event. This is where a complimentary card becomes invaluable. As a student, it will cost you a few naira to design a corporate complimentary card that has a snapshot of your portfolio and the areas you are interested in it but it worth it, get one.
5. Reach out to those you’ve networked with after the event
It is an absolute waste of time not to nurse a new relationship after an event. You should at least send a thank you message to the contact provided on the complimentary card of the person. For instance, you could say it was nice engaging with you on the prospect of Fintech in Nigeria at earlier today, followed about something you learnt from the conversation.
6. Connect with new contacts on your Social Media platforms
For boot camps or meet-up, creating a WhatsApp group for participants if possible is a proven method to keep conversation going even after the event. Nevertheless, you can add those you’ve met at the networking session relevant social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. When sending a request, mention where you met them and who you are.