Nothing signals that it's summer like the semester ending, brighter clothing and conventions every other week. From June to August there are a number of psychology conventions, such as the International Summit & Training on Violence, Abuse and Trauma and the APA Annual Convention, just to name a couple. A myriad of people attend, including professionals, community leaders and students. For more seasoned veterans, networking with professionals may seem easy, but for students, networking is commonly perceived as a huge, anxiety-provoking mountain. To help ease some of that anxiety, we've compiled a list of tips and tricks to guide you through networking with that fancy keynote speaker.
- Bring business cards: Before getting into the actual design and information that goes onto a business card, it is important to explicitly say to bring business cards. When connecting with new people, one of the best ways to make sure that they remember you is by giving them something that they can remember you by. Be sure to check with your institution for guidelines on business card formats.
- Start a conversation with anyone: They may look intimidating, but we promise, they don't bite! One of the greatest benefits of networking is connecting with people who are eager to help students through mentoring or sharing of wisdom.
- Go with friends and/or colleagues: At psychology conventions, it can be lonely and overwhelming to traverse on your own. Whereas, there are certain benefits of going through a convention by yourself (e.g., flexibility in scheduling), going with friends or colleagues allows you to experience and process information with people whose company you enjoy.
- Attend social hours for the people — not the free drinks and food: Attending conventions does not mean just going to plenary sessions, continuing education sessions and overall filling up your brain with a ton of information. One of the best ways to connect and socialize with others is through the social hours. Use these as opportunities to strike up a conversation with your favorite author or to impress a potential mentor.