You are studying at a new city and you are looking for some advice.
You need a few friends to hang out with but couldn’t find them.
You want to network for some professional activity and waiting for a breakthrough.
You need some great advice about college and course selection and you are looking for experts.
You can look for many suggestions in this regard but first, look for a local chapter of your Alumni Association.
That’s a eureka moment for you. Once you subscribe to their mailing lists, you will receive event invites and that’s your gateway to relive the memories and make friends with other batchmates.
Here are a few things you have to ensure for better networking at alumni meets. You can break them into BEFORE… DURING… AFTER.
Before the event
DEFINE YOUR GOALS
Firstly, set the objective of attending the alumni meets. Is it for professional networking? Or Is it to gain admission insights into your dream college? Or is it to increase the friend circle in the new town? Or to find a potential mentor for your startup?
Once you have a clear goal in mind, then it’s easy to network at the event by identifying and talking to the right people. Remember, time is limited and people are many.
At times, the event organizers share the list of attendees with their course and college, company and designation prior to the event, then it can be easy to pick people to meet. If they are from your batch then you can easily relate to them and strike the first level of conversation much before the event.
During the Event
THE HHH APPROACH
You are armed with the list of people to meet or waiting to interact with random persons from your school. Follow the three-pronged HHH approach for great results.
H – Start with a greeting – a simple ‘Hi’ – and introduce yourself.
For instance, “Hi, I’m Pooja from the class of 2016”.
Exchange a smile and shake hands, and the other person will reciprocate.
H – Follow it up with “How are you?”
This puts the person in a comfortable and friendly position to do the talking. Most of the details come up during this part. You may talk about your current status of study or work and know the other person’s and it goes on and on.
H – To the end plant a “How was the school back then?”
This opens up the nostalgic moments the person can share with you. If you are from different passing out years, you can get to the differences during your times and also understand how the college evolved all these years. Lastly, know more about the person’s interests during the school days and does he/she carries it to this date. At the point, you will get a holistic view of the person, the school during that time and other details.
As time is limited, ensure that you talk to everyone on your list. You can even form a circle with common interests and interact with them at one go. This also helps others to shed their inhibitions and join the circle. This way, you are making your school mates more social.
After the Event
STAY IN TOUCH
Now comes the necessary task of staying in touch with your school mates. These days, everyone is on one of the social channels – Facebook, Instagram, Linkedin, among others. Follow them, like and share their updates. Create groups and share interesting articles relevant to a certain industry, course, college, so that you are always aware of happenings around. You can take it forward and go for a casual meet or grab a coffee or watch a film with your chums. There are the alumni association mailing lists to keep you together on a formal note.