Refining my networking and conversation skills with SAF alumni
Through many events and one-on-one conversations, I have been able to meet several alumni to pick their brains about their former experiences. Especially in a group or networking setting, I found that it has been vital to be efficient with time when getting to know alumni, especially at a first meeting. With that being the case, I have a few go-to questions I like to ask to get the most out of conversations for both parties.
First, after a quick introduction, I always like to start by asking a specific question about the alum to get them comfortable talking about something they know well. For example, if I learned that the alum work at a certain company, I would start by asking them how their experience has been and what an average day looks like. This allows them to talk about something they are very familiar with but also allows you to learn a lot about a specific company or position through another person’s direct experiences.
Another question I like to ask is one more specifically about their school experiences and what their favourite courses, clubs and memories were and why. This again allows the alum to talk about something familiar to them and gives you a deeper insight into certain opportunities you may not have heard of that might interest you.
Finally, towards the end of the conversation, I always like to ask a more personal question based on their interests, whether it’s about a sports team, hobby, or just a general question about their personal interests. This gives you something outside of academics to potentially relate to and it gives you a reason to stay in touch.