Last week, the Stanford Energy Club, in partnership with Stanford BEAM, hosted “Networking 101,” a workshop to help students prepare for the upcoming Networking Night 2016. Reeking of hairspray from the LinkedIn head shots we’d just posed for, Energy Club members practiced personal pitches and other “informational interview” techniques. Our Career Development Center coach even taught us how to best juggle a plate and glass while still keeping a hand free for shaking.
Miss last night’s event but still want to up your networking game? Here are some key take-aways to get you started.
- Prepare a personal pitch to introduce yourself. It should be about 60 seconds and describe who you are, what you’ve done and are doing, and what you want to do. Then, end with a question! Write your introduction down or practice with a friend.
- Be ready with questions. If you know which companies interest you, do a little research and prepare specific questions. Don’t limit yourself, though. Have some less specific queries on hand. How did you end up in your current line of work? What kinds of projects do you work on? What do you wish you’d known about this field when you started your career? More specific is better, but avoid yes or no questions.
- Stay engaged. You should be having conversations at networking events—make sure you’re listening when the other person talks and make sure they know it. Nonverbal cues are as important as verbal ones—nod, smile, and make eye-contact.
- Always thank them and get a card or contact info. If you’re interested, follow up with a thank-you note or additional question over email.
The Networking 101 Workshop took place on February 3, 2016 and was hosted by the SEC in partnership with Stanford BEAM