Written by: Taylor Bombalski, professional development coordinator
Based on her skill slam presentation “The Twelve Days of Networking”. Enjoy!
It’s the most wonderful time of the year and students are finishing up their final exams. Trying not to get distracted by visions of sugar plums dancing around our heads, we need to stay focused on our futures. The holidays are a time to relax and enjoy your time with family, friends and even future colleagues. Networking with these people to create mutually beneficial relationship is important no matter where you are. Using the 12 days of networking you will be prepared for this moment.
On the first day of Christmas, my PRSSA chapter told me to create a networking goal. No matter where you are, you should have a goal. Whether that goal is to meet three new people or to hand out your card to 10, it doesn’t matter, as long as you have a goal. Building networks slowly, cautiously and keeping them small is important. Don’t rush to know everything about another person.
On the second day of Christmas, my PRSSA chapter told me to create an elevator pitch. An elevator pitch is simply a short description of your company or in this case, yourself. In networking, you will use your elevator pitch to quickly to explain who, what, when, where, and why of your personal career to a new acquaintance. Every person should have his or her own descriptive, short elevator pitch ready at all times.
On the third day of Christmas, my PRSSA chapter told me to create a business card. Even before you start looking for a job, you should design a business card to represent you. Using a graphic design program or even a simple word processor, you can create a card in minutes that will benefit you in the future. When you print your card, make sure to use high quality paper. This card will be a representation of you, so you want it to look as professional as possible.
On the fourth day of Christmas, my PRSSA chapter told me to follow the 80/20 rule. This means to try to listen about eighty percent of the time and only talk about twenty percent. In order to build strong relationships, you need to understand how to manage a conversation in such a way that the other person feels important and honored.
On the fifth day of Christmas, my PRSSA chapter told me to take notes. If you discuss sending a person something, write that on the back of the business card what you are supposed to do. Indicate on cards what event you met them at even, this makes it easier for a busy networker to connect again online after a long night of meeting different people.
On the sixth day of Christmas, my PRSSA chapter told me to keep my business card in easy access. Keep your business card in its own spot. Make sure it is easy to grab when needed, avoiding that awkward moment when you have to shuffle through a pile of cards to find your own.
On the seventh day of Christmas, my PRSSA chapter told me to remember people’s names. When you meet someone, take note of their name. A person will be pleasantly surprised if you remember their name the next time you meet, and your relationship will be improved. Improving your memory is an important part of building a strong network.
On the eighth day of Christmas, my PRSSA chapter told me to not judge people. Never assume that someone is not important to your career. The secretary of the company could help you by introducing you to the person you want to meet in the company. This person may not need your help, but they know who does.
On the ninth day of Christmas, my PRSSA chapter told me to give back. We need to look at networking as an opportunity to help people. Earning money does not always equal success, working for a non-profit or giving back to your community at an event is a place you can network. Just because it is not labeled a networking event or you think that the company owners will be at a certain event. Be sure to give back to the community because there is always a networking opportunity while you give back.
On the tenth day of Christmas, my PRSSA chapter told me to wear my name tag on the right side. Make sure if it is handwritten to make it legible and make sure it is visible to everyone.
On the eleventh day of Christmas, my PRSSA chapter told me to build my social media in a positive way. Be accountable for your action because the internet allows you to post it does not mean it is appropriate. Also, make sure to be nice to anyone who contacts you because you never know what kind of connection they will have to your future career.
On the twelfth day of Christmas, my PRSSA chapter told me to follow up. Don’t let business card collect dust; use them to benefit your future. Look up your new contacts on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn after you meet them. This will show them that you want to be their friend and continue communication with them.
Sources: “12 Nifty Networking Tips” http://12most.com/2013/07/26/12-nifty-networking-tips/
“5 Networking Tips for College Students” http://www.debtfreescholar.com/2010/02/5-networking-tips-for-college-students/
Porter Gale “Networking Tips for College Students” http://thoughtcatalog.com/porter-gale/2013/06/networking-tips-for-college-students/