Six Tips for Networkers
Do the words “networking event” and “meet and greet” cause panic and anxiety? You’re not alone. But you don’t need to be worried. Here are six tips from the seasoned professional on how to decrease networking jitters.
Manage your expectations
Be careful of setting unrealistic expectations. Don’t expect to meet and speak to 20 different people at a networking event. Being genuine and engaged with each person you speak with, will carry more weight than if you jump from person to person like a kangaroo. Remember: one quality conversation is worth more than 20 superficial ones.
2. Prepare some ice breakers
Have ice breakers ready to go and be completely confident when you use them. Use open ended questions and phrases like, “Tell me..” “What do you think?” or “ How long have you been…” Avoid yes and no questions.
3. Set a time limit
Decide on how long you will stay at the event. (If that time changes because you are enjoying yourself then that is wonderful!). Giving yourself a time limit makes the experience less intimidating. At a minimum, give yourself 20 minutes to get your name tag, grab a drink, and meet at least one new person. This is a formula that will put you at ease and enable you to flow more smoothly from person to person as the event evolves. Also, each time you go to an event repeating that formula will put you at ease and make you feel like you are more in charge.
4. Ask for an introduction
If there is a particular person you would like to meet, ask someone to introduce you. This person is known as a “connector”. When someone introduces you to a VIP you gain more credibility and hold more weight.
5. Be a great listener
Listen with your eyes and ears, and make sure your body language exudes total interest in the person with whom you are speaking.
6. Convince yourself that you are throwing this event.
As the event unfolds tell yourself your main goal is to make sure everyone there feels comfortable. This is the most important tip that sooths the nerves and brings on the smiles.