I’ve discovered two things about the Interior Design industry. 1) They pretty much ALWAYS love their jobs and 2) they don’t mind talking to you about it! (especially if you’re a student). I love it!
But, for a newbie, it’s often hard to learn the in’s and out’s of networking so I figured I’d give my spin on it from start to finish.
1. Being prepared: This includes having business cards, directions to the event, money and a mission. What’s a mission? A mission is a short statement that introduces who you are and where you’re going. For instance, you may say “I’m an interior design student and my interest is marrying technology and design.”
Another part of being prepared is knowing the companies that will be represented. But, if you haven’t done that the best thing to do is ask them to tell you more about the company and what they do. (FYI: Dress at networking events is usually business casual…)
2. The Lone Ranger: So, you arrive alone…or first. Don’t worry! Introduce yourself to the organizers of the event and let them know you’re a student. Most of the time, they will introduce themselves and give you a quick rundown of the event. If you’re early, volunteer to help! It makes it so much easier to get around and meet a lot of people. Whatever you do, don’t sit in the corner by yourself unless it’s because you’ve talked your head off to at least two people and you’re just resting. 😉
3. The Gathering Group: I love the group. It’s easy to just arrive and settle in and just gossip and chat for a few hours and get comfortable. But, if you stay in the group you came with, are you really networking or just catching up? Try to convince some of your group to walk around with you and meet people. Or, if you’ve already met people, introduce members of your group to them.
4. Eat, Drink and Be Merry: If they have food, eat it! If they have drinks, drink it! in moderation! and don’t forget to be merry…