Since I graduated last month, a lot of things have been swirling around my head as I embark on my career. In this latest series, I’m committing to chronicling my adventures and how networking plays a role as I venture into life post university.
For my first post, I’ve been thinking of how there are so many social events in the summer and how you can make these a networking opportunity. I could probably name a good dozen couples that have gotten engaged or married this summer, off my Instagram friends alone. Have you thought of this as a place to network? These people are already in your network in some way or another (probably less than 6 degrees of separation). I can’t imagine an easier conversation starter. “How do you know the bride?”
My big view on networking is that it is an opportunity to build a relationship. I say that and realize that I still find it very difficult to “network”, so let’s take it a step back. People typically gather at social events to socialize. Why else would you go? Take advantage of the busy summer event season and get your feet wet in the building relationship domain.
So what do you wear to a summer wedding where you want to network? I found some great examples through The Occasion. This online magazine compiled by Oakridge Centre, provides some great tips on how to prepare for any event you could have or attend this summer. They feature outfit ideas, etiquette tips, and hostessing 101. Definitely a unique find in one spot.
So you have your perfect outfit and have buffered up on your etiquette but now what? Dive right in. Weddings and other summer events are a great opportunity to warm up your networking courage and skills because you automatically know at least one person there. These are also more casual events that will help ease the professional stress of some other events. I encourage you to look at all your social outings this summer and challenge you to introduce yourself to one new person at every event you attend. Networking in scary. The key message I always remind myself of is that everyone at the event wants to be there to talk to people. People do not go to networking or social events to fly solo. Buffer up the courage at least once during your event and introduce yourself to one new person. I am a big proponent of building meaningful relationships and not just collecting cards. And to do that, you have to start with hi!