It can be difficult and a little intimidating when speaking to business professionals. Most of us have been there. If you haven’t, it is okay. The PRSSA Professional Development Committee has some tips for you.
1) The Handshake
If your hands are naturally cold, go to the bathroom and wash your hands with warm water before approaching the professional. It will make your handshake more welcoming. Make sure your handshake is firm and extend your hand so it runs parallel to theirs – this means no one is dominating the handshake.
2) The Pitch
Briefly prepare a pitch stating your name, year in school, major, previous internships/work experience, and what you are looking to get out of the conversation. Don’t wait for them to ask you questions, just dive right in. You will come off as more prepared and professional.
3) The Conversation
Always remember in the back of your mind that the person you are speaking to is a human as well. We should treat the conversation as if we are talking to a parent or one of their friends. Watch your language, but you do not have to throw in extra words to sound smart.
4) SMILE! :)
It’s okay to laugh and smile! Actually, please do! We are all at the conference to learn and have fun.
5) Thank You
Thank the professionals for their time speaking with you. If you would like to keep in contact, bring some business cards with you, or ask for one of theirs. It’s even a good idea to email them when you get home, and thank them for coming to the conference. Refer to something specific from the conversation to make the email more personal. Remember, they took time out of their day to be there.