Diane defines networking in two ways: building relationships before you need them, and the transference of trust. When you are trying to network, you should focus on what the other person can gain from making contact with you. It should be a symbiotic relationship, rather than just transactional. Diane encourages students to always research guests that are visiting campus, and to go through a faculty member to make alumni connections. Diane also emphasizes the importance of having an online presence, such as on Facebook and LinkedIn. Students should also purchase the domain for their name and set up a simple one-page website.
How do students overcome nerves when networking? Diane says that students should practice by networking with less important people first. Students could also try taking an acting workshop to become more comfortable with speaking in public. Diane also notes that students are getting a lot more experience in networking than they give themselves credit for, such as in group projects. She suggests finding a “networking buddy,” who is interested in the same industry, but who has complimentary skills. Finally, Diane reminds students to help people connect with each other, and to make an effort to stay in touch with contacts.
Darling has appeared on NBC Nightly News, in The Wall Street Journal, San Francisco Chronicle, and The Boston Globe. She is also a monthly columnist for the Boston Business Journal and teaches in the MBA program at Boston University.
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