Feeling anxious about an upcoming networking event? Wondering how to make an entrance? How to make your way the room?
Don’t worry. Heed these tips and you’ll be making connections with ease.
First, make sure you’re there on time – if not early. Yep, resist that urge to slip in late and skip the socializing portion of a function. It’s pretty much the most important part! Get in there and circulate around the room. Be confident. Mingle. Don’t linger around talking to people you already know, but do greet them. Do what you’re there to do; meet new people.
Once you’ve approached someone you’d like to get to know, what to do next is simple if you let it be. Just be yourself. Be natural. Be genuine. Make your conversation a healthy mix of business and personal topics. After all, you want them to know you as a person, and you’re likely more than just your profession. You might discuss an upcoming vacation, a passion for your pets, volunteer endeavors and the like. It’s already sounding less daunting, right?
Also remember that when you’re networking, it’s not all about what you have to say. You’re also there to be a good listener. Conversation is a two-way street, after all. If you listen well, and ask appropriate and thoughtful questions, connecting is more natural.
Just as you don’t want to stick to one person for the duration of the event, don’t spread yourself too thin either. You don’t have to meet everyone at every event. You’re not there to pass out business cards. You might connect with a group and set your sights on striking up a conversation with another set of people at the next event. It’s why networking groups have ongoing events. Slow down and take your time. Adopt a quality versus quantity mindset.
Finally, remember everyone at the event was once in your shoes or could be new to that very same event. Set yourself up for success and you’re sure to achieve it.
Nikki Murry is editor of Berks County Living magazine and a freelance writer, editor, proofreader and blogger. In her free time she is an active dog rescue volunteer and enjoys spending time with her 14-year-old son, Riley, and her three dogs: Buddha and Shelly, French Bulldogs, and Bruno, a Boston Terrier.