Networking. It’s an integral part of a communications career, but sometimes we take it for granted or forget why we’re doing it. So, a recent IABC mentorship program event put networking on the fast track. Speed networking, where participants had five minutes to network with each person, provided helpful reminders of the keys to successful networking.
It’s easy to view networking as merely a social gathering and to go without preparation. But applying the Boy Scout motto “Be prepared” can improve the chance of success.
Know your purpose for attending in advance. Do you want to meet connections who might assist you in your job search? Learn more about something from an expert? Share your knowledge with others?
Prepare some questions ahead of time to shape your conversations and help you meet your purpose. Sample questions from the mentorship event included:
- How did you get into the role/industry you are in now?
- What skills are most critical to success in the work you are currently doing?
- What are some challenges you faced and overcame with a communications solution?
- What are your favorite productivity sites, tools and apps?
- What does a typical work day look like for you?
Your purpose will guide your specific questions.
Have business cards organized and easy to reach, rather than fumbling in your pockets or admitting sheepishly that you forgot them. A smooth delivery makes a strong impression.
No matter how much you prepare in advance, stay open to an unexpected connection or an unusual insight.
IABC Edmonton would like to thank MKT Fresh Food | Beer Market for providing the venue and the food for the mentorship event. If your organization or company would like to sponsor a future event, contact Kris Berezanski, senior director of sponsorship, at 780-920-9619.
Photo by Crystal Komanchuk
Tracey Anderson is a writer and editor who is curious about the world and enjoys using language to share information and inspiration. She taught English in China, Macedonia, Morocco and the United Arab Emirates. Find Tracey on Twitter @tracey_anderson.