Networking Ettiquette

There are a lot of people who are trying to transition to UX design. I get contacted frequently with questions about General Assembly’s UXDI program and whether or not it’s worth the money. One thing I’ve noticed, is that some potential designers rub me the right way, and some do not. In an effort to help those who rub me the wrong way, I thought I’d write this post about networking etiquette.

Here are my four pillars of networking etiquette:

1. Do your homework before you reach out for help. I get a lot of open ended questions about how to transition to UX and whether or not one should take the UXDI program. Help me help you by researching UX on your own. What are the backgrounds of UX designers at top companies? What do their portfolios look like? Where are UXDI graduates working? What design books have you read?

2. Be conscious that you are talking to a stranger.

Strangers don’t know you or your humor. They’re busy doing things. Make sure to be appreciative that they’re helping you out. Listen and ask questions more than you talk. Be conscious of their time (keep it short and don’t contact them repeatedly if they don’t get back to you).

3. Flattery gets you far.

Before you talk to someone, learn about who they are. Where have they worked? What positions did they have? Ask them about their experience. Mention that you read about them or saw them speak.

4. Follow up and follow through.

Let’s say someone gives you advice about your portfolio or your resume. Take that advice and apply it right away. Follow up to show them you’ve taken their advice to heart and to thank them for their help. It’s more fun to help someone if you get to see them succeed.