As communication majors, we learn the importance of communicating using a multitude of channels and mediums which are mostly online or digital. What today’s society does not realize is that because of the the increase of technology, our interpersonal communication skills are suffering with every minute we spent looking at a screen.
The use of technology has created uncomfortable and less effective communication. Neil Shah, founder and director of The Stress Management Society says, “face-to-face communication is becoming increasingly uncomfortable and stressful for many, and a lot of people tend to overthink it. The less we engage in personal communication the harder it becomes.”
On February 23, students will have a chance to network and speak with our guests to get to know them on personal level as well as to understand their professions at deeper level. It is important to know what is expected when networking and how to effectively communicate in these types of settings. In her article posted on January 31, 2018, Rachel Weingarten from Ladders, shares some tips to communicate and socialize effectively.
Plan in Advanced
Weingarten says that doing your research and planning ahead is the best way to get rid of those public speaking nerves. For this specific event, research the guest speakers’ company’s history and pay attention during their presentation to bring up possible topics of conversation. Try researching industry trends and best practices to bring to the speaker’s attention. That’s always a good way to get noticed and start a conversation that you might learn a lot from.
Rule of One
At times, you may feel like you have to talk to every professional that is attending the event. That’s networking right? The more the better? False. That is why Weingarten’s “rule of one” is so important. She says, “one new contact, one interesting industry related conversation, one new resource –my time was successfully spent.” It is important to establish relationships that could be beneficial for you in the future. Spending time with one individual, gaining their advice, insight and trust is time far better spent than trying to say hello to everyone you see.
This is my own little piece of advice that I have realized over my time and experience with networking. It is so important to be able to communicate as YOU and not someone who you think the professional wants to hear from. When speaking face-to-face, focus on what you’re passionate about, what you’re knowledgeable about, and what you want to learn. You can gain invaluable insights and knowledge about not only yourself, but others as well. This is the key to building and maintaining mutually beneficial relationships that can open so many doors to your future.