What do you do at a networking events?
Networking is something that you should definitely embark on if you want to find a great position. But what if you are not outgoing? What if the thought of talking to strangers causes you to go into panic mode? Many of us aren’t exactly ‘ecstatic’ about the idea of going to a networking event and talking to people they don’t know. Networking events is a process that can help you make meaningful connections to move further.
Like many things in life – a plan is essential to making the most out of networking events like these. So, here are some tips on how to effectively break the ice.
Script a quick intro so you have a go-to elevator pitch when people ask you about yourself. Something like “Hi, my name’s ___ and I am currently in the midst of completing my MBA. I am here hoping to meet people in my industry and make a few connections. What do you do?” Make sure you prepare some follow up questions and answers as well. Think about your interests and what you are looking to gain from the event to guide your questions. When you are prepared with an intro and some follow up questions, you will feel more at ease. Brush up on the latest current events as well, particularly in the industry you are interested in. This will ensure you don’t run out of things to talk about.
Seek out Individuals
As The Huffington Post suggests in this article, find someone else who is alone to start your first conversation. It is much easier to strike up a conversation with one person than it is to start taking to a group of them. It is much less intimidating for you and the other person will likely be glad someone included them. Think of it as you helping the other person feel more comfortable because they are now not alone. Chances are they are feeling very similar to you and are pretty nervous! If you go in with the mindset that you are helping them by talking to them, it will help ease your nerves a bit.
If you know some people at the event, definitely make a point to talk to them. Especially if they are talking to some people you don’t know. Be sure to move on though, you want to make sure you work the room and make new connections. You have done your preparations and have some topics ready for discussion, so you have nothing to be nervous about. Remember that everyone else there is attending for the same reason as you. Have a goal in mind for the amount of new connections you want to make. Keep working until you meet that target.
If the thought of networking makes you think of people who love to talk, think again. People will value you listening to them. They have taken the time to come to the event to meet new people and will value someone who takes an interest in what they have to say. For a great article on networking for introverts, check out this article for some great tips. Make it a point to stay engaged and let them know you are interested by making eye contact and asking questions.
You don’t have to be nervous about networking events. They are a fantastic way to meet new people that can help you meet your career goals. Take the tips given and try them out at your next event. Even if you walk away with one great new contact, you have made the event worthwhile. It takes getting out of your comfort zone every now and again to grow. So, get out there and start meeting those new connections.
(Source: Kaplan Business School Australia)