FMAA Networking Tips
by Dawen Lin
March 6, 2016
- Inform yourself
The most common mistake made at networking events is not understanding the Sponsor beforehand. In order to make a stronger impression, you should research the firms you are interested in by reading up on how the company operates, what areas they work in and what events and opportunities they have coming up. As a general rule of thumb, students should not be asking questions that can be easily answered on the company website. By also having a topic prepared to start a conversation, you are better equipped to ask questions that will captivate the Sponsor.
- Body language
Posture and hand gestures can speak volumes about you. When engaging someone in conversation, stand firm and tall whilst maintaining good eye contact. Keep in mind not to cross your arms or keep your hands in your pockets, as this may suggest you are closed off or lacking in confidence. When talking to a representative, try to match their tone of voice and pace in order to make yourself as easy to talk to as possible. Most importantly, networking is as much about listening as it is talking, so give the other party a chance to finish before continuing the conversation.
- What to say (or not say)
Conversation should always focus on insight, rather than facts. Questions you should ask include how a particular firm representative started their career, their career progression thus far, what they love about the work they do, and what attracted them to the company they are representing. This provides you with insight on what the firm could possibly offer you as a student beyond their recruitment deadlines. Steer clear of sensitive topics such as salary, competitors and scandals that may result in an unfavourable impression.
- Build your network
Connections made at networking events are ultimately redundant if you do not keep in touch. For those of you lucky enough to receive a business card, remember to send a quick follow-up email the next day to show your gratitude and continued interest in them. However, don’t impose yourself on others and understand that not everyone will remember you. After all, it is through building positive relationships that will expose you to greater opportunities in the long run.