Networking involves interacting with other people to exchange information and developing contacts to further one’s career. This “process” may also give some people the jitters.
Networking is daunting but you can ease the nervousness with these quick and simple tips!
1. Prepare Some Ice-Breaking Topics
To avoid the awkwardness, it’s best that you prepare some topics to talk about. Well, at least know what’s going on. It’s totally fine if you want to do it spontaneously. You can talk about things like, “What’s the current issue with Trump?” or “What’s trending on Twitter?” or even food! Never go wrong with food. We get your intention of attending the networking, but it’s good to also talk about something else other than just work. It’s not wrong trying to get to know the people you meet there anyway. Give it a little warm up before getting into business.
2. Look Approachable
Logically speaking, if you are attending events, you would dress appropriately and nicely for it. You don’t want to show up looking like a potato (no offense potatoes), you could if you wish but think about it. Would you approach someone whom is well-dressed or an under-dressed person? And by well-dressed here, we meant ‘nicely-dressed’ not ‘overly-dressed’, no need to show up shining bright like a diamond or in a tuxedo. You still want to keep it humble at this point if you want to you know, blend in.. Don’t forget to smile, a RBF (Resting Bitch Face) would not help you here. This is a chance for you to connect with people and be friendly, not scare them away. Dress nice, dress well, put on a smile and you’re good to go!
3. Arrive Early
Being punctual is actually an advantage over here, you can check out the place so you know where’s the best spot to talk. You can also take a peek at who’s already there. Plus, it’s a good impression. Waiting for people is not fun, but it does feel great knowing that someone is waiting for you. It actually shows how much you are interested and how serious you are about the event. If you’re not one for crowded places, this could actually help too. You come early, explore and get used to the place. When it’s early there may not be so many people there yet, so you can talk to whoever is there, get comfortable before the crowd starts to grow.
4. Set A Goal For Yourself
It’s good to explore but you don’t want to be wasting time wandering around here and there aimlessly. Set a goal, know your objective. Tell yourself, “Okay, today I have to talk to at least five people”. Then push and motivate yourself to achieve it. Along the way, there might be difficulties and struggles. Maybe the place could be too crowded, there’s too many people aiming at the same company, or you might get into some situations that you are not mentally prepared for. You have already set a goal in your mind, work towards it. Who knows while trying to strive for your goal, another door for opportunity could be opened, if you’re lucky. If things didn’t turn out the way you want them to, at least you know that you tried and you will leave without any guilt. Remember to fail fast!
5. Find Out Who Will Be There
Do a little research to know who will be attending, what companies will be there and so on. You can also ask your friends that have had experience in networking events. This helps you prepare so you’re confident enough to approach the people first without being baffled by the situation. This is a part of completing your goals, you know who to tackle first and you know what to do without wasting time. With this, you can prioritise the people that you’re really interested to network with according to your list, and check the rest out later.
6. Make A Good First and Last Impression
First impressions are important, it’s what you want people to think about you at first glance. That’s why looking approachable, being friendly and all smiley does help to boost up a more positive image to people. Let them see and feel the good vibe in you. Trust me, it’s important, as well as the last impression. It might not be as common as first, but hey it does count! Imagine this, if you were to travel somewhere, you obviously want to leave the place with good memories right? So, if you are nice to people, that is what they will remember you by. Who knows they might contact and keep in touch with you. It’s good to leave a great lasting impression with someone, even if you’re not sure whether you’ll meet them in the future.
7. Keep In Touch With Them!
Sometimes “I’ll contact you later” turns out to be not hearing anything from them at all, which is not very nice. If you said that you will you know drop them an email or leave them a text then do it, make your words count. Please do follow through. You don’t want to be rude or disrespectful to them. How do you end a conversation without being rude? We can be nice by saying “It has been nice talking to you” or “Thank you for the offer” even if you’re not interested. *shhh*
That should about it, remember these few steps and you’re good. Since it’s a networking session, it’s best if you can step out of your comfort zone and start mingling around!