One day your boss asks you to attend an event to meet some people in the industry. Don’t run away screaming just yet – here are some tips to improve your networking game
1. People are people, wherever you go.
Don’t be nervous about networking – it seems like a very awkward, overly constructed social interaction, but you meet someone new nearly every day, whether it’s through a blind date your friend set you up on or if it’s the barista on your morning coffee run. Just keep reminding yourself, everyone is probably there for the same reason. And you can still meet someone at a networking event and genuinely be interested in what they have to say – don’t feel a need to talk too much business or stick with a script, or feel obligated to put on a fake smile and shake as many hands as you can.
2. Be prepared with your story.
There are some typical questions that you may hear being asked – “so who are you here with?”, “what can you tell me about your company?”, “how did you end up doing what you do?”, etc. Come prepared with your background summary. Also, having a unique business card to hand out that speaks to your personality in some way is a great way to strike up a conversation and reflect who you are as a person at the same time.
3. Get there early
If you hate networking, maybe it’s because you’re not a fan of large crowds and having to single people out in them. Try getting to the event early – you will be able to ease yourself into the networking environment. Familiarizing yourself with the space can help you relax as well.
BONUS TIP! Get involved.
Help plan a networking event, or offer to help out at a scheduled event. Being behind the scenes a bit may give you the same opportunity, but with the confidence of knowing how everything is going to be run.
Hope these are helpful to you and that you shine like a DIVA!