Written by Brittany Medeiros
Have you ever thought to yourself, “networking is scary and uncomfortable”, or “what if no one wants to talk to me?”. Guess what? You are not alone and I’ll be honest, I’ve said all those things to myself too. However, one thing to learn is that it’s all in your head. Think of networking as having a conversation; as humans, we have conversations everyday! Take the pressure off yourself and realize each and every one of us can teach someone something; we are interesting in our own unique way, and we all have something offer.
Today is the day to change your mindset! Here are 7 tips on how to survive a networking event and make an authentic and long-lasting connection:
- Research the event in advance: Educate yourself on what the event is about. What are you there to do? Is there a person or company you want to connect with? What is the schedule of the event?
- Set a goal: What I’ve done in the past is have a goal to meet 1 new person or company. It takes the pressure off and allows you to clear your head.
- Take a deep breath: It sounds simple and cheesy (I know). Give yourself a few seconds and take a deep breath in and slowly out. We shake or twitch because we forget to breathe. So BREATHE and remind yourself you have something to offer and you can totally achieve your goal!
- Connect: Time to connect with someone, but how? Everyone seems to know someone else. Maybe they do, maybe they don’t. If you have a goal, try to achieve it. However, if you are overwhelmed, look for a person by themselves. Scan the bar or the food area, you will always find a few people throughout an event by themselves. They are probably feeling just like you. Go talk to them! They usually will thank you for it.
- Ask questions: Ask open-ended questions. What brought them to the event? Ask a detailed question to an answer they give you. If it’s a person from a company you want to work with, ask them how they got into their career? Would they share any tips with you? Have a dialogue. Networking is about getting to know someone else but remember it is not a sales pitch about you and your wants. If you are authentic about genuinely learning about someone else, 9 times out of 10 you will get the opportunity to share. If you have an opportunity to help this person or introduce them to someone else, do it!
- Get a business card: Ask for a business card if you think you have made a good connection. Write 3 points on the card to remember the conversation.
- Follow up (Most Important!): Email the person you met and mention the 3 points you discussed to jog their memory of your conversation. If you have something to share like a helpful resource or link, feel free to add that. If not, tell them you look forward to connecting again soon. If that person gave you advice and it worked out for you, share that with them at a later time and let them know they made an impact.
Remember, everything seems hard or intimidating at first but the more you do something, the easier and more familiar it will get. Be yourself, have fun and remember – it’s just a conversation!
Brittany Medeiros is an Elite Mompreneur Member based out of London, Ontario. She is a Digital Creative Technology enthusiast and dedicates her time to engaging, informing and delivering positive impact to London’s community. Brittany currently works with the Digital Creative Community, Companies and Start-ups in her day job with the London Economic Development Corporation.
featured image courtesy of shutterstock.com