The keys to successful networking

The most valuable element of your summer internship may be the time you spend building relationships with industry professionals and other interns. Skills learned in interactions at work will transfer to other areas of your life, including your attendance at the MSBC and participation in networking throughout your career. To hone your networking skills this summer and beyond, the MSBC team would like to share a list of tips for making the most of your professional interactions.

1. A firm handshake, strong greeting, and prepared elevator pitch

Practice ensures success with each of these essentials. If you come across an industry professional, offer a firm handshake and take the chance to introduce yourself. A prepared greeting and elevator pitch come are useful in the chance that you are asked about yourself. Slim down your experiences and interests into a quick pitch and tailor it to work with the mutual interests in the conversation.

2. DON’T overstep your boundaries

Always stay on your toes and gauge the direction of the conversation. It is likely that your conversation partner is very busy. Keep initial interactions brief yet friendly and bring up mutual connections if the timing is right. At the same time, read the situation and avoid boring your conversation partner with minute details of your experiences unless prompted to do so.

3. Always carry your card

Many schools offer programs for undergraduates to print free business cards. Be sure to take advantage of this opportunity or to take initiative and design your own. As you part ways, offer a firm handshake again and thank your conversation partner for their time. If the opportunity presents itself, offer up your card and express interest in following up in any form.

4. Follow up!

Do not let the opportunity pass—if you have agreed to follow up with the professional or peer, do so! Connect with them using a personalized invitation on LinkedIn, send a short email with follow-up questions, or reach out to ask for a phone call or meeting for coffee. Many industry professionals are eager to help students however they can, so be sure to make the most of any interaction in which follow-up help or conversation is offered.

Summer is the perfect time to build networking skills and seize the chance to interact with industry professionals. Do not be afraid to introduce yourself—doing so can leave a strong impression. If an interaction goes well, there is no limit to how it could benefit you down the road. Prepare yourself for networking by practicing constantly and honing the basics. This preparation will serve you well this summer, at the annual MSBC and throughout your career in sports.

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