The hardest thing about networking is knowing where to start. After having lunch and talking about my interests with my dad, he gave me an opportunity to network with a friend of his from a nonprofit that works with people with developmental disabilities. (Tip: If you haven’t already, ask your parents and family friends for possible people to network with) But this isn’t an interview, and don’t assume whomever you’re talking with will spread your good name. Here are some things to do to help build a networking relationship:

  • Initial meeting
      My connection was a male, 60s and had a sunburn on his face. I don’t have much in common with older males but somehow we got talking about where he got the sunburn and that lead to a pleasant conversation!
  • Talk about your passions
      If they don’t ask, tell them about your passions or many passions. He works with people with developmental disabilities, so you might assume he only knows those nonprofits. It turns out, he knew people in environmental and animal nonprofit organizations.
  • Send a thank you note
      Send one either email or hand-written. They took time to help you, so the least they should get is a nice thank you note and maybe highlight part of your conversation so he or she knows you were listening. (We talked about lions.)
  • Follow-up
      Follow-up with them in the future. One good way, which I will be using, is to reference something you talked about. Don’t force it, but if you catch yourself thinking about your meeting, send them a thoughtful message.
  • Use the resources they give you
      If they give you contacts, find a good time to follow-up and talk to them. Ask for an informational interview and see if it’s a fit for you. Also if they give you a name, just casually drop your connection recommend it for you.

On a separate note, I can’t believe how fast this term has gone by! Good luck with the rest of the term.

Felicia Kloewer

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5 Responses to Networking

  1. davidhamernick says:

    Excellent tips Felicia! I love your use of bullet points– simple and easy to retain. I’m glad you were able to make a resourceful contact! I’ll be implementing your tips this summer with the informational meet-ups I’ve scheduled. I really like that you guys could chat about casual, nonthreatening things like sunburns and lions. Although I guess lions could be really threatening in the right context. Anyway, great post!

  2. It’s funny sometimes how that happens. Something completely irrelevant can start a topic of conversation that can end as friends, colleagues, etc. I am happy you got to get the chance to talk and network with your dad’s friend. I’ve always heard that it is who you know that gets you places, rather than what you know. I also heard that it is always good to send a hand written thank you note. My father as well as the book we are reading says how valuable a little written note can be. The person you send it to usually cherishes it even if it is simple! I know my boss at my internship has a few hand written notes on his deck from clients and friends he has gone above and beyond to help out from the past. Great post Felicia!

  3. Great post girl! Thanks for all the helpful tips 🙂

  4. pdxsx says:

    Great checklist, Felicia! Good things for anyone to take to heart. I’d emphasize the hand-written note over the email, though!

  5. kaitlynchock says:

    Great advice, Felicia. I loved that you emphasized thank you notes. You’re absolutely right, people are taking time out of their busy schedule to help you so it’s really important to thank them. Also, thank yous can take you very far. I also liked that you wrote about the small talk you had. Small talk is an easy way to connect with people as people. Lions are majestic creatures so I’m glad they snuck into your conversation.
    Way to get out and network!

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