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Do’s and Don’ts of Networking, advice from David Berrington – Executive Director, SFU Beedie School of Business

Do's and Don'ts of Networking, advice from David Berrington – Executive Director, SFU Beedie School of Business
By Guest Blogger: Lisa Dalla Vecchia

It’s been a little over a month since David Berrington joined the Career Management Centre team at the SFU Beedie School of Business as the new Executive Director. He brings with him, among many things, years of networking experience.  Therefore, I thought it would be a great opportunity to ask David to share with you his “Dos and Don’ts” of networking.

·         Purpose. Why are you going to this particular event? Being able to answer this question gives you an easy conversation starter.

·         Industry-specific events. Be prepared to talk about your role, what you do; your company, what it does.

·         Alcohol. Don’t drink too much.  Be very aware of your reaction to alcohol.

·         Business cards. Critical. You must have them, offer them, and ask others for theirs. No exceptions.

·         Name tag. Again, critical. You must wear one (yes, you can bring your own). No exceptions.

·         Connections. Don’t try to meet everyone. If you could make a dozen connections during one event, you’re doing very well. Aim for five to ten.

·         Engagement. Don’t talk too much about yourself unless someone is asking you a lot of questions. Engage people and learn more about them by asking them the questions.

·         Personal, private conversations. Don’t engage in them as this is not the purpose of a networking event (you’re going with the intent to meet new people, right?).

·         Commonalities. Find common interests to talk about: iPhone vs Blackberry, Vancouver Canucks, current events.  Avoid politics and religion.

·         Introverts. Don’t shy away from networking!  It may be a challenge, but this shouldn’t discourage you.  It is okay to listen in on another conversation. In fact, you’ll find people enjoy talking about themselves.

·         Follow up. After the event, send an email to each person you had a conversation with. Better yet, invite them to connect on Linkedin. Say it was great to meet them and you look forward to staying in touch. Then stay in touch.

On a personal note, I find that once you connect with introverts, they often make fantastic connections!  I’ve developed some invaluable long-term relationships with introverts. Just remember: we all have something to offer others when we attend an event and network.

So what are you waiting for? Get going…happy networking,

Lisa Dalla Vecchia

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