This past weekend I attended my five year college reunion. While I happily spent most of the weekend with the same 5-7 people that I spent the majority of my college career with, there were certainly ample interactions with classmates who I hadn't spoken with since we'd left our undergraduate careers behind. And these conversations all essentially went the same way:
"Hi, it's been so long."
"Yes, too long, how are you?"
"Great, where are you living now."
"I'm in [insert Northeastern city], working at [insert name of bank/legal firm]. You?"
"I'm in [insert name of other, smaller Northeastern city], working at [education/non-profit organization]."
Despite the monotony of these essentially vapid conversations, I was struck by the fantastic opportunity reunion presented for networking. And in fact, I was impressed by some of my classmates abilities to truly work the room (or in this case the campus green). I saw several classmates exchanging bussiness cards, writing down e-mails, and concluding these seemingly prescribed conversations with the words that every career advisor loves to hear:
I'd love to learn more about what you're doing, would it be alright if I sent you an e-mail later this week with some questions?
Perfectly articulated! Who wants to spend their 5 year college reunion discussing the details of their job? We've got more important things to do, like drink Vermont microbrews and relive our college glory days. However, if you're willing to think outside of the party box and truly make the most of the excellent networking opportunity that reunion is, you can not only enjoy the weekend, but make some excellent contacts.