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Be Your Own Networking Coach

Here are 5 great tips to being your own networking coach.


1) Uniforms

Do you want to eliminate the stress of figuring out “What will I ever wear?”
A suggestion is to have professional networking attire ready to wear in your closet ready to wear at all times.

Recommended outfits for men and women:

2-Business professional suits with 3 shirts
2-Business casual outfits
1-Classy cocktail attire

Remember to include: shoes, bags, jewelry, etc.

Clothes can mix and match, if you need help with professional dress, reach out to an image consultant or a fashionable friend.

Savvy tip:
Always investigate recommended business attire and if you are unclear on the dress code, dress up a notch.
Jackets can be removed how-ever it is a little complicated to knit socks.


2) Practice

After receiving an invitation to attend an event, confirm your attendance or politely decline prior to the deadline.P1010077

Typically, event planners will share the guest list and program details three or four days prior to the event.

Once you have the guest list, scout out the players and discover who you would like to add to your networking team.

Being mindful to meeting individuals that are not on your targeted list. Often walk-ons are big contributors to a network.

Savvy tip:
While walking the dog or while riding the bus, practice introducing yourself. Visualize the other person responding in a positive fashion. Don’t forget to smile.

3) Put yourself in a game
Arrive to events on time. If a reception starts at 7:00 p.m., you can arrive fifteen minutes early or fifteen minutes late. If you are attending a dinner and the start time is 6:00 p.m., you need to arrive no earlier than 5:45 p.m. and no later than 6:00 p.m. Typically, you have a fifteen minute arrival window unless the event sponsor tells you to arrive at certain time. People are invited to professional events for a reason and that reason typically is not dinner. If you have a special dietary need, alert the event planner prior to the meal. As a guest you can provide many assists and contributions to events by sharing positive energy and keeping conversations upbeat.

Savvy tip:
Enjoy a snack before you arrive to control your hunger and focus your attention on the game of networking.


4) Score
Introduce yourself and others at events. You’re the coach and it’s your job to demonstrate your leadership skills. Connecting individuals with common interests can score wins for the entire team while showcasing your ability to build relationships. Share your business cards with others and collect business cards. Try to follow-up with the person via email with-in twenty-four hours thanking them for the interaction. You might ask them to connect with you on LinkedIn and provide any follow-up information from the conversation. For example, you are in the INDY airport and talk to a Purdue Alumnus and Vice President from an East Coast financial firm. The VP mentions that they love the Triple XXX Diner in West Lafayette. Also, they will be visiting Purdue next Thursday. A suggestion for part of your email might include, “if you’d like to meet at Triple XXX during your campus visit next Thursday, I would enjoy meeting you for lunch around noon or I am available any time from 10:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m., let me know if we can meet and share Purdue memories.” It’s important to treat your new connections like big wins in your networking.

Savvy tip:
Invest in business cards and a case. A person can purchase 250 business cards for under $10 and cases range from $3 and up.

Now go out and network!

“Oh, put me in, coach – I’m ready to play today;
Put me in, coach – I’m ready to play today;
Look at me, I can be centerfield”

-Dan Fogerty


Melissa Ann Evens
Director of Undergraduate Communication Center and Scholarships
Krannert School of Management, Purdue University