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MIT student blogger Melis A. '08

Etiquette Workshop: The Keys to Painless Networking by Melis A. '08

Jodi Smith taught the UPOPers the keys to painless networking!

As part of the Undergraduate Practice Opportunities Program (UPOP), a program which teaches sophomores about leadership and work-place dynamics, I attended an etiquette seminar taught by Jodi Smith last week. For an hour and half, Ms. Smith taught us the Top Ten Tips for Painless Networking, which I thought I would share:

1. At a networking event, always wear a nametag and wear it on your right side. When you shake someone’s hand, you extend your right arm, so their eyes will naturally follow your arm and see your nametag.
2. Have a good handshake. It shouldn’t be weak and you shouldn’t break their bones. Hold it for a few seconds while making eye contact and then let go!
3. When introducing yourself, say your name slowly and clearly. If you have a difficult name, maybe give a mnemonic.
4. Also during your introduction, give a little snippet of information about yourself that might help jumpstart the conversation. Make sure the tagline is appropriate for the situation, like you wouldn’t walk up to the CEO of GE and say “My name is Joe, and I have three dogs,” while that line might be appropriate if you’re introducing yourself to a veterinarian or fellow dog lover.
5. Do your homework! If you’re going to an event sponsored by a specific organization, know what the organization does and who might possibly be there.
6. Have good body language: don’t cross your arms or slouch.
7. Make eye contact!
8. Before starting a conversation, know whether you are going to be the “driver” or the “passenger.”
9. Make a graceful exit, even if your conversation was less than pleasant.
10. Get business cards and follow up.

After the seminar, we went to a “Mock”tail Party held in a reception area. We had the opportunity to put our new knowledge to the test while conversing with alumni and employers. It was a great learning experience and I particularly appreciate that the UPOP program tries to emphasize that even summer interns can become leaders when equipped with the necessary confidence and drive.

If you’re interested in general etiquette, MIT holds a Charm School for one full day during IAP. It’s supposed to be quite the learning experience!

One response to “Etiquette Workshop: The Keys to Painless Networking”

  1. Drew says:

    That sounds like quite an entertaining evening, and something I could probably use to be perfectly honest, haha. The name tag part would probably be the most beneficial, because names are one thing that I cannot remember for the life of me. Its good to see that MIT offers events such as this, the often overlooked aspects of a complete education.