Thursday, September 17, 2015

The Solution for Those Who Dread Networking Events

It can be terrifying to walk up to a complete stranger and say “Hi, I don’t think we’ve met before.” Even I, a self-proclaimed extrovert, have to give myself a mental pep talk before walking in the door.

But what if there isn’t a physical room to enter, but a virtual chatroom instead? For many, starting a conversation is so much easier in a virtual setting than a physical one. This was the concept of UNCW’s Virtual Networking Hour that took place Thursday, September 10.

Over the course of the hour, I was paired up with thirteen people. I spent the majority of the hour typing back and forth. There was only one time that I had to wait less than thirty seconds to be paired with someone. I talked to twenty-somethings looking for new jobs, experienced professionals trying to expand their network, and recruiters searching for fresh talent. Even though there were participants from all over the world and from a variety of fields, I found something in common with every person I talked to.  And, a takeaway I’ve learned from other networking events I’ve been to, I followed up with all of them on LinkedIn after the event was over.

UNCW’s Virtual Networking Hour allowed me to collect some great advice from successful UNCW alumni without the stress associated with in-person networking events. There were no nerves, no thin layer of sweat on your skin and there were no hard feelings if you entered into a chat and decided to leave. I had a great experience and I look forward to future virtual events for alumni!

UNCW Alumni Relations/Christine Schulze '15