By Karly T. on Dec 3, 2018 9:00:00 AM
Networking can be intimidating. These 3 tips will ease your nerves and set you up for success!
We’ve all felt it - you’re heading out to a networking event to meet some like-minded folks with the intentions of growing your circle, creating connections and communicating your cause. You arrive ready to mix and mingle but end up spending the majority of the time near the back of the room, scrolling on your phone. You vow to make the most of the next event you attend but you’re not sure where to start… the 3 quick tips below will change that.
1) Start with a Goal - “Tonight I will come home with 5 business cards”
Something simple and attainable is a great place to start and will be encouraging without making you seem rushed or pushy. If you’re nervous about going, get there early to put yourself at ease. You’ll have time to get familiar with the venue, meet the organizers and easily break the ice with new arrivals. Don’t forget to bring business cards of your own, a pen and a notebook!- you’ll see why in the next point.
2) Be Approachable - Body language and nonverbal cues ‘speak’ volumes.
Arrive at the event dressed appropriately with a smile on your face. Avoid being consumed by your phone. Find common ground with folks you are speaking to and ask questions. Being interested in the other person is key to building genuine relationships. Keep your notebook handy to jot down some interesting, memorable facts about new contacts you make. Do they have kids? Are they interested in a particular sport? Etc.
3) Follow Up - The key to solidifying your new connection.
You’ve exchanged business cards, you have useful tidbits in your notebook and now it’s time to reconnect. Send a short email or LinkedIn request with a personal touch, this shows that your connection meant something to you and that you were listening and interested in continuing a relationship beyond your first connection. Finish up your message with a suggested connection or value-add you can bring if you’ve identified one since you met to show that you will be a valuable addition to their network.
Ultimately, you will get out what you put into these events. With our tips, you will be on your way to networking like a pro in no time!