Image courtesy of:

By Silvia Marin

The Center for Career and Experiential Education (CCEE) held one of their Real World Connections events on Feb. 28. A few of the guests included representatives from the Times Herald Record, NPR and local public relations firms who spoke with communications students about entering the field.

Networking is an important way of creating connections that will help an individual professionally and socially. Here are a few tips on how you can be prepared to network:

Don’t be shy

Not everyone will approach you and start a conversation. Speaking first will show that you are confident and can communicate well with others. Prompt the conversation by introducing yourself. Do not miss the opportunity of starting a relationship with someone because you are afraid to speak first.

“Start with ‘Did you try the food tonight?’,” says Ellen Nolan, communications advisor in the CCEE. “[Then] work up to talking about what they do.”

Be prepared

Networking can happen anywhere. There are networking events where people in a specific industry are trying to make connections. However, you can also network while shopping, at a restaurant or even in an elevator. Prepare for this scenario. Plan an elevator speech where you introduce yourself, talk about past experiences and list your skills.

Nolan advises that doing research can be very beneficial. “There’s so much information out there,” she states. “There’s elevator pitches which help develop 30 second speeches about yourself.”

Venture Out

Don’t only network with people in your industry or field. Creating connections with others can benefit you in the future. Those connections can help you build other relationships.

“It doesn’t necessarily have to be that you are talking about a profession,” says Nolan.

“Networking is about finding a common bond and using that.”

The next Real World Connections event will include more professionals in a variety of fields. It is set to take place on April 12 in the DC Café. For more information contact the CCEE through email, or phone 845-569-3175.