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Networking 101: Effective Communication

Networking 101- Effective Communication

by Joy Jin

College students are constantly reminded of the importance of effective networking in enhancing careers. Recently, Mitchell Dong (entrepreneur, Pythagoras Investment) headed a Networking 101 workshop at Harvard detailing common pitfalls that people of all networking skill levels make. This networking practice session had several key focus areas—preparation, meeting people, conversation, and connection.

In this article, I will be focusing on summarizing some of Dong’s key tips to enhance connection, which is a field most commonly associated with networking, yet is often easiest to fumble with:

1. Business Cards
• Always bring business cards, and have them handy—if you are fumbling around in your bag for them, the other person will move onto someone else
• Take notes on the business cards you receive so you don’t forget the person
• Older people often prefer to exchange business cards rather than social media contacts

2. Email
• Exchanging email addresses often involve typos—ask the person to enter his or her name next to the email so you can look them up later
• Send an email instantly after they enter the address and ask if the person received it—even though we exchange emails, it’s not often that the other person emails you back or initiates

3. Social Media
• In regards to social media, European professionals generally tend to use WhatsApp, Chinese people use WeChat, Japanese people use Line, and Korean people use KakaoTalk—using these native apps can allow for easier contact and more immediate connection

4. Follow Up
• When leaving, say goodbye to people you care most about—this demonstrates your appreciation for their help and subtly reminds them to follow up
• Email is the most common follow up method (many professionals don’t check LinkedIn)
• In your follow-up email, include in the subject line a reminder of the event name
• Compare notes and share contacts with a networking partner to increase the number of your connections by a significant percentage