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April 5, 2014 / laurencox12

Never Miss An Opportunity To Network

Last Saturday, I had the pleasure of returning to Temple University to attend the TU Invitational, hosted by my old PRSSA chapter. To say I was excited would be an understatement. Not only was I happy to see some of my friends that I hadn’t seen in a while, but I was genuinely interested in the event itself. The line-up of speakers was fantastic, and I was especially looking forward to the networking portion scheduled for the end of the program.

Since graduation (and even before if we’re being completely honest), I’ve always been eager to share my experiences and advice with students – particularly my little Temple Owls! I’ve been back to Temple to speak twice already, and I find myself constantly talking to my interns about my time in college, what I’ve learned since, and what they can do improve themselves while they are still in school.

The first portion of the event was amazing. I enjoyed all of the speakers and Temple PRSSA did a great job of keeping the sessions flowing. They even provided all of us with yummy food and drinks (shout out to Neuro for the two cases of beverages still sitting in my fridge!).

Once all of the speaker sessions were done for the day, it was time for networking. What was originally supposed to be a speed-dating style networking session was switched to a less formal “walk around and get to know people” thing, but despite this change, I still saw the end of the program as a great opportunity for the students. There were several alumni in attendance, and each of us represented a different area of the industry. Not to sound ridiculous, but there was a lot for these kids to learn! I was shocked when only a handful of students (maybe one student for each alumni present) decided to stick around and ask questions. I applaud those who did because they were able to have significant one-on-one conversations and get more feedback than they normally would.

Now, I’ll be the first to admit that networking can be awkward (especially when it isn’t in a formal, structured setting), but that doesn’t mean you should let the opportunity pass you by. No matter how old you are, what industry you’re in, or how much experience you have, it never hurts to expand your personal network.

Even though I’ve been out of school for nearly two years (side note: when the hell did that happen?), I still made a point of introducing myself to several of the speakers that were at Temple that day. Although these people are now my peers (and in some cases my competition), I knew it was important to get my face out there and connect with them. As a relatively new professional, I know I still have a lot to learn, so I’m always determined to make connections with my fellow PR professionals.

With all of that being said, if I could give one piece of advice to those students who chose to skip out on the networking portion of the TU Invitational (and really anyone), it would be to never miss an opportunity to network! You never know what connections or wisdom you could be missing out on.

 

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