Feeling Comfortable Outside of Your Comfort Zone: A Networking Workshop

On August 20, the S2BN Guelph Chapter hosted a Networking Workshop for graduate students. The Guelph Chapter president, Mathew Platt, kicked off the workshop with a comprehensive presentation on how to network with tips to increase one’s confidence in a variety of situations.

Here is a summary of what was covered!

How to network confidently?

  • Practice your self-pitch, which briefly describes your background and interests

  • Be prepared for conversations by thinking of answers to common questions, as well as thinking of questions you can ask others

  • Research who will be at the networking event; even just a 5 minute glance at someone’s LinkedIn page can make you more prepared

  • Make sure your LinkedIn is up to date

  • Have business cards on hand

What should you bring to a networking event?

  • A positive attitude

  • Business cards

  • Pen and small paper pad

  • Appropriate clothing

  • Have a copy of resume in your bag (just in case!)

General networking tips:

  • Shake hands and ask questions (don’t just talk about yourself!)

  • Come early

  • Walk up to people and groups

  • Be genuine

  • If you have made a casual connection, ask to join on LinkedIn BUT if this is a more professional or meaningful exchange, ask for their business card so that you can contact them by email

Following-up by email or on LinkedIn after an event is essential for solidifying a relationship:

  • Connect in a timely manner; within 24 hours is recommended!

  • Remind them of your interaction

  • Be genuine and positive

  • Fulfill your promises and hold them accountable to theirs

Here is an excellent LinkedIn example offered by Matt:

Hi John,

(Start with where you met) It was great meeting you last night at the Science to Business Network event on AI and healthcare in Toronto. (Offer a compliment) You’re clearly knowledgeable in the field, and (remind them of your interaction) your discussion on the new way's healthcare is implementing AI was exciting. (Hold them accountable) I really appreciate your offer to stay in touch regarding any additional questions I have about the AI space.

I look forward to chatting again.

Sincerely,

Mathew Platt

Advanced networking tips:

  • Maintain relationships by checking in with the people every couple of months

  • Ask people you admire/respect to chat over coffee

  • NEVER ask for a job outright, rather, be subtle e.g. “Do you look at internal postings? I’d love to hear about them if you do”

  • Offer to connect others e.g. in an email “I know someone working in that space, let me put you in touch with them”; perhaps they will return the favor!

During the second part of the Networking Workshop, attendees practiced some of the networking tips they learnt by engaging in guided discussions in groups of 8-10 people.

Thank you to our (Guelph Chapter) S2BN president, Mathew Platt, for sharing these tips and to all our workshop participants. We look forward to seeing you at our next event!

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