Making the Most of a Conversation

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Ever heard of the six degrees of separation rule? In theory everyone in the world is separated by at most six people. You never know if that random homeless guy you pass on the street knows the barber who cut your sister’s ex-boyfriend’s hair. It’s a small world after all.

My point is that you never know who might be able lend you a hand or in turn who you might be able to help (always remember: it’s a two-way street). I am a naturally outgoing person. Therefore I have no problem walking up to a random person, shaking their hand, and sparking up a conversation about anything. Let’s be honest, not everyone is good at it. Networking is an art form.
I work for my university’s Annual Fundraising, getting support (and by support I mean money) from alumni. The other day I sat next to this girl I don’t normally talk to. Usually when I get to my shift I’m tired and I barely want to talk to alumni let alone any co-workers. Regardless I struck up a seemingly meaningless conversation which led to my newfound friend informing me of a magazine writing and editing class she was taking. Come to find out, her professor is a contributing writer for Harper’s Bazaar and she used to work for Marie Claire. Um hello?! Can someone say Alexis’ dream job?! I couldn’t write fast enough as I took her information down and I e-mailed her first thing the next morning. Result? Unfortunately her class was full but she eagerly set up a meeting with me this Wednesday afternoon to discuss the “magazine world.”
Who knows? This meeting (just in time for a few internship deadlines) could open the right door for me. You should never use people only for what they have to offer you; that’s just bad manners. However, you should always make the most of every chance meeting you have with someone. Whether it’s offering your own connections to aide them, learning something new, gaining connections that can you in the future, or even finding the love of your lifeIf it’s a professional setting, learn how to best sell yourself to those you meetAnd in case if you’ve damaged those networking relationships, this could be vital for you.
Your dog’s veterinarian could be dating the daughter of the personal assistant to the CEO of a Forbes Fortune 500 company, and how would you ever know if you didn’t open your mouth and start a conversation about something other than fleas and ticks? Practice makes perfect.

College Magazine Staff

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