We’ve all been there. Walking into a busy room full of people dressed in business professional. They’re mingling amongst themselves and you can feel your heart starting to beat faster and your hands getting sweaty.
The truth is, networking is nerve-wracking. To help overcome the fear of networking, I’ve created a simple list of the top four ways to enter and leave a networking event in the best way.
1) Fully prepare yourself for the event
Preparing yourself both physically and mentally is critical at any networking event. As far as physical, make sure you are wearing the proper attire for the event.
Make sure you are well groomed and look ready for success just like these gentleman below.
Mentally, you need to pick apart every fear in your mind and have a counter reaction to what you are worried about.
For example, if you’re thinking “I will not know how to introduce myself confidently and professionally”, go ahead and practice with a friend or in the mirror! Rehearse what you are planning on saying and run the conversation through with someone else to make sure it sounds excellent.
2) Be bold and ask questions
You should never shy away from the challenge of networking because yes, it is a challenge. Being bold means coming across as confident yet composed. You should have an aura about you that suggests professionalism and poise. Don’t be afraid to talk to that one recruiter or boss that could take you to the next level!
3) Ask questions
Asking questions is the best way to engage with someone about their company. People love talking about their own interests and how they arrived at the position in the company they are with. Ask good questions that keep the conversation moving.
Elana Lyn Gross, a contributor at Forbes magazine, compiled a wonderful set of good questions to ask at networking events. She says she “starts asking questions that make the conversation insightful and interesting and leave [her] feeling inspired and motivated to connect.”
4) Follow up
The entire purpose of networking events is to meet people, make connections, but most importantly to follow up for new opportunities. Collecting business cards at networking events is certainly promising but you must follow up with a courteous email within the following two days of the event.
There are plenty of ways to follow up based on who the person is and how you interacted with them. Below is an example where you might suggest to the person you’re reaching out to a certain tool to accomplish a goal. You can find more email templates at Hubspot.
While networking may originally sound somewhat daunting, do not let your fears control you! Let the professional in you come out and practice those important conversations that will advance you in your career.
I loved this quote from SkillsYouNeed.com:
“At these [networking] events, we get to regard each other as people to be met and learned from, not simply as business opportunities to be exploited.”
I hope you now feel more prepared for your next networking event. If you have any great networking tips or lessons from your own experiences, feel free to comment below!
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