Networking is generally considered a necessary evil. This rite of passage into the professional world can be scary, especially for college students.
Erich Kurschat, the founder and CEO of Harmony Insights, led a workshop in The Garage on Thursday, Feb. 16, to teach students how to approach networking from a fresh perspective. Kurschat’s company, Harmony Insights, focuses on helping team members in businesses learn how to communicate more effectively and increase productivity in the workplace.
For Kurschat, there are two essential tips for networking successfully. The first tip is to establish a relationship. It is extremely important to start figuring out what you have in common with the other person. His second tip is to learn as much as you can about the other person.
“Networking isn’t about you,” Kurschat said. “It’s about everybody else.”
The best chance to leave a positive impression is by showing a genuine and sincere interest in the other person.
Ultimately, the main principles of networking are…
- Preparation and practice – go into the setting prepared. Research the employers and practice at other networking events beforehand!
- Set a reasonable goal – e.g. you’re not going to leave until you’ve had one meaningful conversation, you’re not going to leave until you talk to five people, etc.
- Listen – listen to the other person and their story.
- Be you – this is self-explanatory: be yourself and don’t put up a front!
- Be of service – be there to serve the other person, not simply to gain something for yourself.
Networking isn’t something to be feared, after all. All it takes is a shift of perspective.