Student Struggles Part II: Socializing and networking
In our 21st century lives, people pay more attention to the friends on their Facebook page than to the people who are in the same room. The number of likes on our Instagram pictures have become more valuable than the number of people who actually value us for who we are. Most of us are forgetting the value of social contact.
We need to be connected to other artists and creators for a variety of reasons. It is important to stay connected because this helps us to stay inspired and learn about different cultures which helps make us grow as artists. But so many of us are concerned with what others think. We feel that society is there to judge us regardless of whether we start up a conversation with someone or not. If we say “hi” we might come across as too forward, and if we don’t, people might think that we are cold. In spite of all this, we need to break the ice, pop our personal bubble, and simply say “Hello.”
Here are some helpful tips that can make it easier to start a conversation with someone:
Remember that most people are just as nervous as you are.
There are people in the world who are more extroverted than others. But, if you’re not one of them, talking to a stranger that seems interesting is a daunting task. You may not know what to say, or you might just stand there frozen. The best trick is to put both yourself and the other person at ease right from the get-go. The easiest and best thing to do is to make them feel comfortable by giving a compliment. Then, following it up with an introduction. A simple conversation starter could be “Hey! I love your shoes,” or “That’s a really nice car you have there,” followed by “My name is … and you are?” These simple words could go a long way to building a stronger connection.
Prepare an elevator pitch.
If the person you’re anxious about introducing yourself to, is someone professional, like a potential employer or mentor, create an “elevator pitch” for yourself. Elevator pitches are common in the working world and include things like your name, where you’re from, what your current occupation is and your short term goals. Having this information established ahead of time gives you a script to work from and gives the person who you’re meeting a basic idea about who you are. Once you’ve made your pitch, they then have the opportunity to ask more questions and get to know you. With professionals it’s also important to know that sometimes you need to sell yourself. Talk about your passions, interests and talents — just be careful not to brag.
Remember kindness is key.
In college, the majority of people you meet are the same people you work with and study with. Maybe you’re even living together. Maintaining positive relationships with the people you meet in college can end up making a huge difference in the future, so it’s good to always treat people with kindness and respect. “It’s important to be nice to everyone,” said Vinod Krishnan, a graduate animation student.” Being warm and welcoming and making personal connections with as many people as possible is very important because you never know who you might end up working with in the future.”
There is no better time to put yourself out there and burst your personal bubble than in college. Socializing and networking with the numerous people you meet can only benefit you. You will learn from others, grow as a human being and get more and more inspired. Someone once told me, “If you make a new friend every day, you meet more smiling faces, and that makes all the difference!”