As many of you know, I am currently in the MBA program at Westminster College. This program has given me a world of experience that apply to both my personal and professional growth. The program I am in is designed to deliver this growth through classroom study, practical projects and extracarricular activities. Initially I wasn’t able to do any of the extracirricular activitied due to constraints on my time at work and at home. Recently however I have been doing thing like attending power lunches, where a prominent member of the business community will discuss how they became successful, and attend networking events.
These networking events vary greatly in format from event to event. Some of them are simply glorified job fairs and others are just excuses for adults to get together and have a professional gathering/party. If you are going to these I submit for you to consider a number of aspects in order to make the event a productive use of your time.
1. Dress codes vary so pay attention to the format; business casual is a minimul
2. Everyone attending can become a good business contact to leverage including yourself
3. Hand out business cards not resumes; resumes are for job fairs
4. loosen up! Use the communication skills you learned at parties when you were younger. If you’re lacking in communication skills then you can develop them at these events.
5. Open the discussion circle when someone walks up. These can be somewhat competative especially if you found someone who may want to introduce you to their business, but it is rude to block someone out of a conversation at a networking event and it makes you look bad if you do.
6. This one doesn’t have to be a rule, but I encourage it. Don’t eat food that will cause bad breath!