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Networking tips and tricks

Group of alumni networking

As part of our Careers Service’s employer presentations series, John Owen from the Royal Bank of Scotland gave us his best tips and advice about how to make the most of networking events. Here’s what he said:

Confidence

  • Have a positive mental attitude – tell yourself you are confident and you’ll come across as confident. Tell yourself you’re shy and nervous, and that’s how you’ll appear.
  • Practise in front of a mirror – watch yourself talk and see if you can adjust to appear more confident. A more upright posture, or a change of outfit, can work wonders.

  • Don’t mumble, but also don’t shout – keep your voice clear and calm so that you are easy to understand.

  • There are two types of people at networking events – dogs and cats. A dog is somebody who is enthusiastic, has a lot to say, facilities conversation and makes a lot of eye contact. A cat on the other hand is someone who has less to say, makes less eye contact and is shy. You may wish to avoid the latter at networking events if you are shy yourself because they may make you feel more nervous. It’s a good idea to practise networking with dogs. 

Conversation

  • Bring something new or interesting to the conversation – employers will have met hundreds of people like you with your credentials. You need to stand out in their memory, so bring something new to the table.

  • Research the individual or company – demonstrate your knowledge and interest in their work.

  • Be positive – focus on topics you know about so that you don’t come across as uncertain.

  • Ask open-ended questions – questions that begin with where, what, when, and how. A yes/no question won’t take the conversation anywhere.

  • Leave enough conversation for a follow-up – don’t burn through every possible topic so that you are left without a reason to keep in contact. 

 Follow up 

  • End the conversation on a high – and with the intention to follow it up.

  • Enter your email address into their phone – rather than simply handing them a business card. They are less likely to lose your information this way.

  • Make a note of the conversation – remind yourself exactly why the person is useful.

  • Follow-up within 48-72 hours – ensure they remember you and what you talked about. 

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