I attended my first networking event when I was 18 (I’m now 27) and I still cringe at the thought of having to talk to strangers. Most people think of networking as a scary/awkward experience, and it’s true that it can be. However, there are a few tips that can help you feel prepared, and make real connections.
Prep your elevator speech
“So, what do you do?” This is a common question I’ve encountered at networking events. What’s more important than answering this question, is your confidence in the answer. Before your next event, practice your elevator speech until you say it with confidence. Your speech should be short, sweet, and authentic.
Networking can get old real fast when you’re constantly talking about work. Try to dig deeper and ask questions that will spark real conversation. Learn about their family life, their hobbies, and even the “why” behind their business. This information could help you win this person over as a client or customer.
Collect cards with a purpose
There is no prize for collecting the most business cards. The purpose of attending a networking event is to make real connections. If someone offers you their business card, take it. But before you ask for it, think about if connecting with this person outside of this event is truly beneficial for your business.
Don’t forget your cards
Speaking of cards, don’t forget to take your business cards with you! Your business card at minimum should include your company logo, contact information, your name, and title.
Bring a friend
If you’re more of an introvert, have one of your extroverted business friends join you at the event. I personally find it helpful to attend events with friends, even though I’m more of an extrovert in networking environments. Just having a persona to chat with that you already know can help give you some peace of mind. However, it is important not to use this person as a crutch and only talk to them.
Find the wall flower
I always make it a point to go talk to the person who is not talking to anyone. I do this because most likely, they’re more nervous than me and I’m able to help them open up a little bit, too. If you’re unable to bring a friend, you and this person could tag team the event together and provide one another with support.
Check out the guest list
Take a look at the list of attendees and speakers and decide who you want to meet beforehand. Do your research and come to the event with a game plan to connect with them!
Be your own hype man
EVERYONE is nervous! Listen to your favorite hype song in the car, grab a drink from the bar when you get there, and just be yourself.
Are you ready to use these networking tips at #RTHCon19 on September 20 and 21, 2019? Grab your tickets and join us today – click here.