Attending networking events can be daunting, nerve wrecking and potentially traumatizing. In a room full of people, anxiety levels rise and words fumble. It certainly is intimidating to walk into a room full of people with the same mission: network, network, network. I’ve had moments during events where I silently got drunk at the bar before slipping out without making connections because I was too nervous. In the introvert world I frequent, it’s very possible that I am uncomfortable in a room full of people and so networking becomes more of a task than the usual easy mingling that usually goes on.
Naturally it took me a while to get the hang of networking where I would leave feeling accomplished and would have built one more connection to benefit my cause. I realized I had to minimize my anxiety and address the reason I was anxious. I didn’t enjoy large crowds or even large spaces and would like to not feel confined there for more than necessary so I asked myself two questions: 1) who would you like to speak to? 2) about what?
It became a mission to answer these two questions to feel a sense of accomplishment. During my time there, I would remember some important points to keep the mingling at a healthy medium while still keepin gmy anxiety together.
1. Prepare. Prepare. Prepare.
It’s homework time. Before even hitting the RSVP button, ask yourself if the event is beneficial to you. If you are a fashion designer and the event is for chefs and restaurant owners, chances are you won’t find anyone looking for a closet makeover. Research and find more information about who will be attending and perhaps if anyone on the guestlist is a potentially useful connection.
Be sure that the event is aligned with your agenda. It makes it easier to zone in on one or two key people to engage in conversation. Preparation also includes going over the elevator pitch you worked so hard to perfect, pulling the most suitable outfit and reminding yourself the reason for attending. Did you want to meet a specific someone? Were you planning on sharing an idea or looking for help with a project? Did you want the answers to some questions?In the less than thirty seconds you have to engage in an interesting conversation, knowing the endgame scores better points than not.
Listening is one of those things we don’t get to do much at networking events because we’re naturally too busy checking off our own lists of things to talk about. Sometimes one of the more effective methods of memorable conversations is listening. Listening to someone else’s ideas, asking “what’s your passion?” instead of “what do you do?” Making an effort to listen and learn from the moment can leave the impression that you were interested. That you had your ideas but still took the time to listen says something about character. Be a good listener and interesting, ask questions to help forge a lasting relationship.
3. Know Your Passion
What is your passion? What keeps you up at night? For when the question comes up, know the answer. Be excited about your ideas. Pour enthusiasm into your passion and be clear. It’s time to deliver that elevator pitch and deliver it you should. Making an impression is most conversation but all passion. When you know your mission and understand your passion, it shows. Be proud of your ideas and share some of your excitement all in the name of lasting relationships.
What are some valuable networking tips you have received? What advice would you give those wanting to succeed at networking?[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]