It’s not all about who you know; it’s about on what level you know them. We live in a time where most people have facebook friends who they don’t recognize and correspond daily with people they’ve never met via email. Real, face-to-face, eye-to-eye contact is something that people have less and less of but still crave. If you can become a clear communicator, an active listener, and a successful networker during your summer internship, people will remember you and desire to work with you. With practice, you can gain all those qualities, even if you’re an introvert, by following these 10 keys to networking effectively with people outside your office.
1) Have a clear purpose.
Set a goal for what you want to accomplish by the end of the networking event, whether it is getting closer to landing a job or simply learning more about a certain industry.Set a goal for what you want to accomplish by the end of each networking event you go to. Your goal could be getting closer to landing a job or simply learning more about a certain industry.
2) Practice beforehand.
Formulate a concise answer to the question, “What do you do?” that reveals that you are passionate and unique. Don’t blabber on and on; just show that you love what you do as an intern, and you want to excel at it.
3) Seek out individuals.
You will have more productive conversations when you speak individually with someone instead of trying to butt into large conversations. If your voice is not being heard in a large group, search for someone else to talk with. Search for people standing alone. They will appreciate that you sought them out.
4) Understand before talking.
People prefer to speak and appreciate when you listening. When they’re talking about something that excites them, keep them talking. Continue to ask them questions to get more of the details of what’s important to them.
5) Look for ways to help.
Once you know a person well, offer to help them in any way you can. If they are formulating a website and you’re good at design, volunteer to help with the process by showing them some pages you’ve designed. Look for little forms of assistance like holding their plate or throwing their trash away. People will remember you and respect you when you help them out.
6) Enjoy small talk
Brush up on your current events by reviewing the web pages of news sites. Local news, the stock market, and sports can be great topics of conversation.
7) Follow up immediately.
Ask the people you meet for business cards. When you go home, add them to facebook and LinkedIn and send them an email thanking them for the conversation and mentioning something they said that was especially interesting to you. Make sure to add details such as the event name, date, and where you were so they instantly remember the encounter you had with them. Click here for more information on following up with people after your first meeting.
8) Set up a lunch date.
Meeting over a meal gives you an excuse to talk together for a significant amount of time. For more on the advantages of business dinners and tips on how to conduct them, learn from the founder of Zagat Restaurant Review.
9) Keep going to events.
If you don’t meet the goals you set for yourself during your first networking event, go to the next one! Networking
is a skill that grows over time. Set a schedule for yourself to go to at least one networking event per week.
10) Be genuine.
All of the advice above will be useless if you are not genuine as you interact with people. Be honest about your opinions, passions and interests.
If you follow all of these tips, you will have success on your way to mastering the art of networking.
***This is an installment from the series, Mastering Summer Internships. These articles will show how to make the most of your summer internship experience and be a rockstar intern in your company. Click here or enter your email below to receive weekly updates with the latest installments of Mastering Summer Internships.