When you mention an alumni meeting to someone who’s never attended one, they get the impression of mid-aged people getting together to drink and boast about their success. But the purpose of an alumni meeting is not to make you feel younger. It’s different from a class reunion. When alumni from different generations meet, they focus on developing networking opportunities and giving back to the university that provided them with education.
It’s a classy event, and you’re expected to do more than eating, dancing, and drinking. That may create some pressure. How do you prepare for the alumni meeting? Do you have to try hard to make a good impression? Should you brag about the professional success you’ve achieved?
Read on; a few simple tips will help you to get ready!
Tips: How to Get Ready for an Alumni Meeting
Have a Purpose
Before you show up at the event, define your purpose. What do you want to achieve? There are a few goals you can have:
- Meet and reconnect with old friends
- Make connections that could be beneficial for your career
- Meet with current college students and arrange informational interviews for them
- Become a student’s mentor
Based on your goals, you can have a few conversation starters ready. You’ll also know who to focus on, so you won’t feel lost when you arrive at the event.
Polish Out Your LinkedIn Profile
A stack of business cards was the golden standard of equipment for these types of events. You no longer need the cards; they’ve become outdated and obsolete. It’s okay to have a few just in case, but you should know that most people will be interested in connecting via LinkedIn.
Work on your profile! Clarify the biography and try to publish something.
What if writing is not your thing? So far, you’ve completed admission essay writing tasks, essays, and all kinds of papers for college. You’re done with that period of your life and you don’t feel like you could write good articles. In that case, investing in a few articles from a ghostwriter is a good idea. They will make your profile more impressive.
Plan How to Introduce Yourself
Your introduction will depend on the goals you’ve set. If you intend to mentor current students, you’ll explain what you do and how you can help them on their career journey. If your intention is to build business connections, you will introduce yourself in a way that makes you interesting for collaboration.
Practice how to deliver an articulate personal introduction. Don’t focus solely on yourself! You have to ask about the other person, and really listen to them. You can start a nice conversation based on the things they say.
At an alumni event, you shouldn’t be afraid to approach people. It’s why everyone came there. They expect to be approached.
If you need conversation starters, you can always start with questions about the school:
- What was your graduation year?
- What was your major?
- What do you do now?
Relax! All you need to do is ask a single question, and the conversation will start from there.
Arrange Informational Interviews
When you meet accomplished students from top business schools, you shouldn’t waste the opportunity to attract them to your business. You’ll help them build a career, and they will help you bring youthful enthusiasm into the community. You can invite them to a special event at your firm, or offer an informational interview.
If you’re focused on business connections, ask about potential collaboration and keep the connection alive via LinkedIn.
Right after the alumni meeting, take some time to write down your impressions. Write the names of the people you met, and everything you remember about them. If you’re interested in collaborating with some of them, follow up with an email!
If you really connected with someone and shared your social media profiles, invite them for a coffee. You can talk about a potential collaboration or simply become friends. That’s a success, too!
Don’t Forget to Have Fun!
With all this planning, you can easily forget about the main purpose of alumni meetings: create connections and have fun! Feel free to grab a drink, but don’t get drunk! Holding a drink in your hand makes you more comfortable to mingle. Just going to the bar gives you a chance to make small talk with someone.
Be open to anyone who wants to start a conversation. Feel comfortable to approach people, introduce yourself, and ask for their contact information. It’s okay to spend more time with some of your favorite college friends that you meet there. You’ll reconnect, and it will be easier to have fun during the event.
BIO: Judy Nelson is focused on learning and career research. Throughout her years in education, she learned a lesson: no goal is impossible to achieve, as long as you firmly set it. Anything is possible with enough courage and determination. Judy shares career tips through her blog posts.