OK, first day of class and it is time to review the syllabus. A quick lesson:
- Your personal network can change your life/career
- Building your network is intentional and you have more ‘networking events’ than you recognize
our Prof reviews the syllabus, the same drill at campuses all over the world. Then, the student who is on the ball and playing to win asks, “Will we be having any guest speakers this semester?”
Prof: “Sure, I am planning to bring in two or three.”
Student: “Are they booked yet?”
Prof: “Two are, why?”
Student: “Can you tell us who they are and when you plan on having them in class?”
At this juncture the Prof wants to know what you are up to, “May I ask why you are asking?”
Student: “Well, I know you would only bring in an over-achiever to lecture. So I would like to Google them, get prepared, and on the day they are to speak, I would like to dress nicer because I am representing this class and our school.”
Wow, two things happen:
First, the Prof realizes you are a standout student. Perhaps you are one of the students they love to teach. One who is striving to maximize her learning environment. She is impressed and looks at you with positive expectations and it is only day one. But be careful, you have shined the spotlight on yourself. So this semester it is time to deliver, but you have set the stage well. You stand out. You have enhanced your personal brand.
Second, you are setting yourself up to expand your network. On the day of the guest lecture, you are prepared:
- You have Googled the guest
- You have one or two great questions or comments for when you meet in case you need them or that prep helps when it comes time for Q&A
- You dress business casual
- You show up 10 minutes early for class
- When you meet him or her, you shake their hand and have something intelligent to say
- You get their card
- After class, you thank them in an email for coming and reference something that you learned
- You also tell them you will be connecting to them on LinkedIn
- You send a LinkedIn invite
- You have access for life
Well done. Your network expands.
Why is this important?
- First: Your Prof does not bring slackers in to lecture, they only invite accomplished people
- Second: This contact must be in your field of potential interest because you are taking that class
- Third: You are forming the habit of great networking. As this becomes second nature, your reach and influence will grow and serve you well
Two final points:
- Every guest lecturer wants to do well and probably they don’t speak often on college campuses. You were prepared and made them feel welcomed and put a bit of wind to their back right before they went ‘on’ with your class.
- You made your Prof look good too. You helped her to enhance her brand in that her guest was treated great and you represented her class well.
Did you email your Prof and thank her for inviting the guest and connect via LinkedIn? Get to work.
Again, well done.