Maximize IABC/Chicago Events with Effective Networking
By Daryn Schwartz, IABC Volunteer
Taking advantage of the services and programs IABC offers can help you immeasurably in the future. And, networking at IABC events and meetings is one of the most effective ways to extend your circle of potential job contacts. It’s also a great way to learn more about the fields and industries you are interested in. However, effective networking takes practice and preparation. Here are few tips for effective networking at IABC events:
Arrive early to mingle with other guests or the speaker before the program begins. Scan the nametags on the registration table to see who is coming, and then seek the people you want to meet.
Prepare your introduction. Practice saying a 30-second overview about yourself that describes where you are with your education, and what you would like to do when you graduate. You will begin your conversation strong if you have a prepared introduction that you can deliver naturally and succinctly.
Have a plan for what you’d like to learn or discuss with other attendees. You may be nervous when you begin talking to professional communicators, so take time before hand to jot down some questions and conversation starters you would like to ask while networking, such as:
“I’m a senior at DePaul University studying Organizational Communication, and I’m interested in pursuing a job in the Employee Communications field. What advice or tips do you have for someone new to the field?”
Work the room. Don’t stand in one spot. As you mingle and walk around the room, look at name tags to see what companies they work for, and their industry. And stop to introduce yourself.
Find a common interest. You don’t have to jump immediately to a discussion about the communications field, or the contact’s industry. Chatting about current events or the weather can help you ease into the conversation.
Ask for business cards. After you meet someone, ask for his or her business card. And be sure to jot down a few notes about your conversation on the back of the person’s card to jog your memory later.
Say thank you. At the end of your conversation, be sure to thank the communicator and let them know you value his or her input. A thank-you note or e-mail is also appropriate.