Your university alumni is one of your best networks, and one that’s worth keeping active. We call alumni networking events, ‘silver platter’ events. The alumni organizing group does all the work–they hand you a networking opportunity on a silver platter. All you have to do is show up.
But, it helps to show up prepared. Here are 7 networking tips to enhance your connecting at any alumni networking event.
1. Often the event registration site includes a list of alumni who have already registered. You can see who is attending, but don’t base your decision on whether you should attend on this list. Remember, many people sign up for events at the last minute. These registration lists are valuable because if you see people you want to connect with at the event, you can let them know you’ll be attending.
2. Go with a tag team–mate. Any networking event is easier if you go with someone. You will be more at ease walking over to strangers when you’ve got a buddy. As well, your tag team-mate can introduce you to people they know, and vice versa. Of course, this doesn’t mean you have to be ‘attached at the hip’ throughout the whole event, but it’s nice to know if you end up standing alone, you’ve got your tag team-mate as back up.
3. Learn how to do The Glowing Introduction™. It’s a way to sing the praises of your tag team-mate when you introduce them. If they have an awesome job, if they are working on an interesting project, or if they just received a promotion, YOU can tell this story. Far better for you to say, “Simone just got an amazing promotion.”
4. Share these tag team rules with your tag team-mate so you are both prepared. And, before you attend the event ask, “how are we going to introduce each other?”
5. An easy way to maintain the connection with your alumni after the event (follow up) is to say, “Let’s connect on LinkedIn.” When sending the LinkedIn invitation, customize your greeting rather than using the system-generated, “I’d like to add you to my professional network.”
6. Alumni events are often very fun and very social, but bring business cards. If the event seems too casual to give out your card when you first meet people, do so at the conclusion of your conversation. And, bring enough cards.
7. In the 48 hours after the event, reconnect with university colleagues who now live in places around the globe. Tell them about the alumni event. “You remember, Jaz from our Business Ethics class? I saw him at the event. He’s now working for McKinsey.” You may be able to connect people that you just met at the alumni event with your extended network. Being a Connector is what networking is all about.
Darcy, Judy and Gayle
Authors of Work The Pond!
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