Attending networking events is something that most of us dread doing and, if you’ve never been to one before, your first one can be quite intimidating. Here are some simple tips to help you be more comfortable the next time you find yourself at a networking event or even amongst a group of people you don’t know.
1. Just be yourself
People want to get to know you for who you are. Don’t be afraid to talk about your passions and your interests and express yourself fully and completely.
This is a lesson that I learned a long time ago. When you smile people see you as someone who is friendly and approachable. They are more likely to strike up a conversation with you. You can never go wrong with a friendly smile.
3. Introduce yourself to the host and the presenter
A simple introduction with a simple thank you is always appreciated. If the networking event is something aligned to your business or career this person may be a good person to know. A friend of mine recently started working at Xero after meeting Rod Drury during an event he was presenting at 5 years ago! She stayed in touch, the stars aligned, and now she’s in her dream job!
4. Start a conversation by asking questions
This approach helps take the edge off introducing yourself, especially if you’re nervous. It puts the spotlight on the other person and you may even learn something new. Besides, most people love to talk about themselves and their interests.
5. Make eye contact
Making eye contact is a sign of respect and shows the other person you’re listening. This is true in Western cultures but comes across as overly assertive in some Eastern cultures so keep that in mind. Oh, and another time to be mindful of not making too much eye contact is in prison!
6. Have a firm handshake
Always carry your drink in your left hand, this frees up your right for introductions. Be firm but not overly aggressive in your handshake and guys, shake a woman’s hand in the same way as you would a man’s.
7. Be prepared
Think about what you can share at the event. What might interest others? Don’t come across as overbearing but as a conversationalist. Learn the names of the organisers and key presenters and remember, introduce yourself to them.
8. Give. Give. Give.
The worst thing you can do is to go to an event with the intent of seeing what you can get. If you focus on giving it will be returned to you in truck loads. Who can you introduce the person to who might be good for their business? What books or articles can you recommend that they might be interested in? Focus on giving first…you’ll be surprised by the outcome.
If you’d like to know more about how to achieve more in life or business, or if you’d like to explore how coaching can help you become a better leader (of others or yourself!), or even if you’re just generally curious about what professional coaching can offer you, please contact us at any time for a free consultation.
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