Networking is the gateway to effective communication | Panda Anku

Becky Bocklage

Look up the skills any business graduate will need and “effective communication” will be at the top of any list. Aside from acquired expertise in the discipline they majored in, employers want students to be able to relate to other people. This is critical to interpersonal relationships, both internally and in representing the organization externally. Often these outside opportunities come in the form of a networking event that is part social and part business. To be effective communicators, students should develop networking skills.

Communication is, of course, taught at Columbia College and every institution, but we teach students to write a good analysis and make a persuasive presentation. Doing this well builds effective communicators, but it doesn’t round them out. Just last week, at a meeting in the business world, I overheard a colleague talk about recent grads not being able to speak to them in person. These graduates were clearly uncomfortable, and they just couldn’t do it. The professional who shared this story was not negative, but instead highlighted a problem and expressed support, albeit with a touch of frustration.

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