3rd annual PhD and Postgraduate Career conference
Speaker 1, Mr Joel Graham (Entrepreneur):
"You as a student in terms of what you have studied and being postgraduates and getting out into the world to work, you can be very technical and logical in the way you think.
What I want to do with you today is share with you a two-step journey of how to break out of that, while still not forgetting the importance of who you are but having the skills to be able to network and talk to the right people when you need to be able to talk to those employers etc. The most important conversation you can have is the one you have with yourself. What you say to yourself has an impact on the decisions that you take and the results you get. How many times have you done something and said that ‘I am stupid or I am thick or I am daft or I am an idiot or blah, etc.’, that is going to stop you from being the person you want to be.
And even in a networking situation, if you’ve already gone there thinking, ‘oh god I’m scared and I want to talk to the person’, you’ll be like billy no-mates or sally no-mates in the corner talking to nobody. Guess what, you will not be taking the steps you need to in order to make those connections, to make those contacts. I’ve got two little tips of which one I’d like to think is cruel, and the other to think as positive. So the cruel one is to look for the other person who looks like they have no friends and start talking to them first; you’ll instantly have a connection, but that will also give you the confidence to go and talk to someone else cause you already started talking to someone else even if you still feel shy, you have to talk to that person.
The more positive one I would say is ask questions; we expect people to know and think about us, and expect everyone to put us on a platform to be able to sell everything that we do and sell ourselves as an individual person- which is a no-no, as everybody else thinks exactly the same way. So show interest first and ask questions, add value first and that will come back to you in a greater way.
Speaker 2, student:
At today’s event, I try to focus mostly on trying to be a better listener, to find out what people are getting out of their experiences and how they have got to where they are; and then when I have the opportunity to have a question relevant to me, I try to put it in the context of what they have been talking about to lead me in the right direction. When you are going out to network, don’t be afraid to talk to people, cause they are less afraid to talk to you than you think.