Networking: What is Your Style?
When it comes to networking I like to keep it simple by meeting a few new faces, reconnecting with old friends and talking about the event I’m attending. Walking into a room full of people can be very intimidating but there are techniques that will help you overcome the fear of being rejected. Of course you can Google networking networking strategies or how to network and come up with great points but my take is a little different.
A Different Take on Networking
First, grab a drink. This does not mean down alcoholic beverages. A glass of water is perfectly fine. You are networking, not partying. Also, slurred speaking is not a great first impression. The drink in your hand means you are not looking down at your phone texting or scrolling through your Facebook feed. Yes, you will have one had free but let that cold drink be a reminder for the why reason you are there instead of giving everyone in the room the cold shoulder by not interacting.
Second, appetizers are appetizers and small plates are small plates for a reason. This is not your dinner. Keep it small. A mound of food on a small plate keeps you locked down at the table in the back facing a wall so no one can see you eat. Wait until you are having a conversation and grab a small appetizer with the person or group you are talking to. That way you can continue the discussion or move on to another topic.
Do not be afraid of a crowded room. That crowd is made up of small groups full of people just like you. Your goal is to meet new people or make connections. Introduce yourself yourself to the first person you see. You can talk about the venue, topic of the night or the presenter but more importantly you should listen. Listening is key to making a connection. While you are listen keep track of common interests you have with this person and share your experiences with similar situations. If this is someone you enjoyed speaking with ask for the contact information and be sure to follow up if you say you will be in touch.
After your first conversation do not feel obligated to stay with one person or group for the duration of the event. Walk around the room introducing yourself to people. If you came with a friend split up for a while and meet people on your own. This is a great way to break out of your comfort zone and good practice for going to events alone.
Wrapping this up, if there is one piece of advice you should remember it’s this: Do not stare at name tags. When you introduce yourself let the other person say their name and try to memorize it. People will notice you looking down at their name tag when you should be listening to what they are saying.
The next two weeks are full of Young Professionals Connection (YPC) events for you to attend and work on your networking skills. Hopefully we will see you soon!
YPC Marketing Committee Member