No elbows on the table! Use your napkin, not your sleeve! (I’m channeling your relatives for this blog post).
All of those etiquette-focused complaints your parents reprimanded you for when you were a kid are still true: going out for coffee or lunch with a networking contact necessitates manners and poise.
After setting up a meeting with so and so who works at Dream Company X, it’s important to remember a few things:
1) Your contact is taking time out of his or her busy schedule to help YOU out. When scheduling the meeting, ask where is convenient for the person to meet you. It’s important to decrease the amount of time taken out of the person’s day.
2) Always offer to pay for the person’s coffee or lunch and be sincere about it. The person you’re meeting with is doing you a favor; return that favor by paying for their meal, or at least offering to. Some contacts realize you’re a student and will offer to treat you. Be gracious; say thank you.
3) Always say thank you. Make sure to get a business card since an in person thank you isn’t enough. Mail out a hand written, personalized, note thanking the contact for his/her time and relating back how much you learned from the meeting.
These are some basic tips, what other ideas do you have for those networking?