Last month, O. Ray Angle, Assistant Vice President for Career & Professional Development at Gonzaga University traveled to Daytona Beach, FL to present on networking etiquette during an event provided by The Boeing Company. This event was the mind child of the Executive Director of Career Services for the ERAU Daytona Beach campus, Alicia Smyth. She had heard Ray’s presentation at a Florida Association of Colleges and Employers conference a few years ago and felt this topic would be beneficial for students.
Ray offered several good insights to achieve success at networking events. Below is a brief recap of some of the highlights:
- Think like the host. Even though you may not know anyone at a networking event, go in with the mindset like a host of a party.
- Prepare ahead of time with three opening lines and three continuing lines for conversations. The three opening lines should focus on neutral topics such as the food served (always in a positive light), weather, sports, parking, and travel to the event. You also should not stay on any topic for too long or it could become stale. Try to stay on these topics for 3 minutes or less. The three continuing lines are a little deeper about a person after you cover some surface topics. These subjects could include interests, hobbies, personal and professional information, vacation, or travel.
- Be cautious when asking the question “what do you do?” This really depends on what type of event you are attending. Ray gave the example of asking this question to someone who had just lost his job. After the event, Ray gave career coaching and reviewed his resume.
- Always stay away from religion and politics. These are personal and should not be brought up, unless you are at some sort of religious or political event, which it may be deemed appropriate.
About 150 students attended the seminar to learn these successful insights into networking. After the presentation, students had the opportunity to practice what they just heard at real networking with Boeing staff, Boeing student ambassadors and career services staff.
Valerie Kielmovitch Mandel is the Director within the Career Services Office at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University- Daytona Beach. She has worked in the Career Services office at ERAU since 2010. She completed her undergraduate degree at the University of Central Florida and her Master of Education specializing in Higher Education and Student Affairs at the University of South Carolina. Valerie has a diverse background in the field of higher education from residence life to career services. She currently serves as Secretary for the Florida Association of Colleges and Employer (FloridaACE) and the Scholarships Assistant Chair for the Southern Association of Colleges and Employers (SoACE).