Rikki Segura, Public Relations x Advertising senior at UTA
Throughout my time at UTA and holding a position on the campus’ PRSSA Chapter executive board, I’ve attended several networking events.
I must admit, the first time I went to a networking event, it consisted of me stuffing my face with snacks and checking my phone every two minutes. Once all the snacks were gone, my internal monologue started due to me panicking:
“I hope the presentation starts soon because I’m already on my third muffin.”
“Should I stand over here, or sit over there at that couch?”
“Those people look friendly, should I strike up a convo?
“Man, they already seem to be having a great conversation and I don’t want to ruin it by budding in.”
“Maybe I’ll hover and slowly engage.”
“Yeah, hovering is going to make me seem creepy. I’ll keep walking.”
“Where am I walking to though?”
“I’ll act like I’m looking for a friend! Genius.”
“Okay, that was not convincing at all…”
“Let me just stand here.”
“Ooo! I’m going to check my phone and look at emails. I’ll look busy so nobody will approach me.”
Then the keynote speaker starts and I rush to a seat.
“Sheesh, saved by the speaker! I’d rather be bored listening to this than struggling out in the social lobby.”
How I used to feel is not something novel to students and new professionals. We are always being told how important networking is, but are rarely provided with tips that actually work in calming our nerves and thoroughly enjoying ourselves.
Here are my top three networking tips:
Use the Networking Buddy System - Having a friend who you’re comfortable with and you know is just as nervous as you can help the both of you shine at any event! Remind each other that everything is a learning experience and be prepared to chat with professionals as a team.
Share Something Helpful/Insightful - Don’t be afraid of sharing information about yourself or something you’re interested in! It can be about an inspiring quote, a book or show you’re loving lately, or a cool restaurant you visited recently. Networking is about making connections and the best way to do so is by being personable and showing who you are as an individual. This will leave a positive impression and encourage those you meet to connect with you professionally.
Be Attentive! - The whole reason for attending a networking event is to talk to people and learn to network! Avoid scrolling through your feeds and take advantage of the people there, ready to share their experiences with you. One of my personal strategies is to strike up conversation nearby the food and drink area just because it seems more casual.
I hope these tips help! Happy mingling and who knows, maybe you might get an opportunity for an internship as a result!