You’ve just walked into a room, business cards and notepad in hand, full of the hustle and bustle of conversation with people who look, and probably are, super important.
Just as you’re scouring the room for a seat, you notice someone approaching you to have a conversation. You have no clue who this person is and your mind starts going haywire to think of something to say.
They extend their hand and begin to ask you a question as you stand there, not sure how to respond.
If you’ve ever feel anxiety or nervousness when it’s time to attend a networking event, you’re not alone! Although we know that networking can help us grow our businesses, it can still be the last thing we want to do if we’re not the social butterflies that we need (or think we should) be. Here are three tips to take the awkwardness out of networking and survive your next event.
Tip 1: Do your research.
If you’re attending an event and you know who you’ll be in the same room with, do a few quick Google searches to learn more about them. This will come in handy before and after the event when you have an opportunity to chat with them. One way that I’ve been successful with this is monitoring the social media account for the event host and paying close attention to the comment section. Most of the time, people who are planning to attend with leave a comment expressing their excitement about the event.
Tip 2: Float the room.
Nothing screams awkward more than someone who is a wallflower at a networking event. It makes you appear to be antisocial, shy or…awkward. Posting up in one spot the entire time can make others uncomfortable with approaching you and you would’ve defeated the purpose of even attending. Don’t be afraid to make your way around the room to meet others and introduce yourself first. It will help you appear confident and personable and you may even help someone who is nervous come out of their shell.
Tip 3: Remember that you belong.
Many times people, especially women, have a tendency to let “imposter syndrome” get the best of us at business related events. I experience this a lot! Even though I know what I’ve achieved in my career, I still feel like a rookie. Remember that you belong in the room just as everyone else does and don’t feel intimidated, as if you haven’t accomplished anything or that you aren’t as great as everyone else. This will give you an added boost of confidence as you engage in conversation with those at the event.
I hope these tips are helpful and get you off to a great, confident start for your next networking event. If you have any tips to share about how you take the awkwardness out of networking, feel free to post them in the comments!
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