Networking is one of the most valuable aspects of Greek life. People join fraternities and sororities for a variety of reasons, including the opportunity to make helpful business connections. In many cases, Greek alumni can help you find jobs, investors, or partners. However, it’s important to keep certain guidelines in mind when you network. Otherwise, you risk making the wrong impression. Here is a list of top do’s and don’ts of Greek networking.
Network the Right Way
Do learn all about your organization’s history. The more you know about your chapter and organization, the easier it will be to connect with alumni and ask them intelligent questions.
Don’t be afraid to introduce yourself. Successful networking requires you to take the initiative. If you want to meet someone, introduce yourself or send a LinkedIn invitation. There’s nothing to lose and quite a bit to gain.
Do ask interesting questions. If you’re talking to someone who owns a company, he or she will expect you to ask about business. Try to find some less obvious topics to discuss, whether it’s sports, vacation spots, or clothes. If you find some common ground, you can always segue back to business topics.
Don’t “work the room” at social events If you robotically go around the room introducing yourself, handing out business cards and giving people a two-minute elevator pitch you’ve memorized, you’ll turn people off. Make an effort to meet a few people with whom you have some rapport. Let conversations start and evolve as naturally as possible. You can’t meet everyone at large events, so it’s better to make your efforts more concentrated.
Do make sure you’re organized. When you’re meeting lots of people, it’s easy to forget details, such as names, occupations, and what you talked about with someone. Write down important details, whether you keep them in a notebook or on your phone. Learn some memory techniques to help you remember names, faces, and crucial information about people.
Don’t be too self-centered. No one wants to feel like you’re only talking to them for your own ends. Of course, that’s what networking is about to some degree. However, it’s helpful to remember that communication is always a two-way street. Show a genuine interest in the people you meet. The above tip about remembering facts is helpful here as well.
Do understand the value of meeting everyone. When meeting people, keep the “six degrees of separation” principle in mind. Actually, according to Facebook, that’s been reduced to three and a half people. This means that even if the person you’ve just met doesn’t seem relevant to your objectives, he or she may very well know someone who is. That’s why it’s always beneficial to expand your network.
Don’t hoard your contacts. Networking is ideally an open and generous activity. Don’t be afraid to share contacts with your friends. When you do this, others are more likely to do the same for you. If you meet a prominent alumnus, for example, don’t hesitate to introduce him or her to your brothers or sisters in your organization. Avoid a scarcity mentality and strive for an open attitude.
Do take advantage of the latest technology and platforms. Nowadays, you can achieve a great deal by connecting with people on social sites such as Facebook and LinkedIn. When you meet people, find out how they prefer to communicate. Some people still prefer phone calls, while others are more comfortable with texting or using social media sites. If you’re involved in planning social and networking events, it’s also helpful to use advanced software such as GreekXperience, which helps with event management.
These Greek networking tips are useful whether you’re at a social function or reaching out to someone online. Remember, you share a bond with everyone else in your organization, whether they’re fellow students or they joined your chapter decades ago.
Here at GreekXperience, we have experienced many times the importance of networking in our journey to build the most robust tech platform for Greek chapters and community.
Do you have other tips for networking to share with other readers in the comment box? Otherwise, don’t miss out on your next networking opportunity and create your GXP Profile for free today!