It’s January, and pretty soon we are going to be going into the spring events season. You are probably already rolling your eyes in contempt at the amount of networking that you may be required to do in a few months.
Have no fear, there are a few things you can do to not only enjoy networking, but become a networking rockstar.
Whatever you do, don’t go into the meet and greet blind. You should have some expectation of who is going to be at the event, and a few things you can talk about to strike up conversation.
Consider looking up a few key people on LinkedIn ahead of time. Check out their company’s recent news events, and brush up on where they went to school and some of their recent projects.
As a word of caution, don’t look up everyone that’s going to be at the event and don’t connect with everyone either. It will be pretty obvious that you are trolling the registration list if you do this. No one likes a LinkedIn stalker.
Another way to prepare is to have three key talking points. This could be conversation starters that are related to the type of event you are attending, as well as things that you really want to mention about your organization. But be sure not to force these items of conversation. These topics are simply to drive the conversation forward if there is a lull.
2. Go in confidence
This may sound a little New Age but you need to be sure that you are mentally preparing yourself for the event before you go. Remind yourself that you are very talented at what you do, that you get along with people really well, and that you are great in conversation. Walk into the event with your head held high feeling that you can move about the room and enjoy yourself. If you have done the preparation this becomes much easier to accomplish. Another way to feel confident as you enter the room is to be sure that you’re wearing comfortable clothes that are aligned with the dress recommendations for the event. Ladies, getting your nails done before an event is another quick win in the confidence arena.
3. Don’t force connection
You are not going to hit it off with everyone at the event. Frankly, you shouldn’t. Your time can be much better invested in meeting a few people and building a few great long-term relationships versus meeting many people for a brief amount of time. Again, this goes back to your preparation. If you know who you want to meet then you can focus on meeting those people, but if you click with someone allow yourself to let the conversation flow. Make sure that you are enjoying the event and that the event is a catalyst for you to build long-term business or personal relationships. Today’s business minded individuals can see through bullshit and they love to speak to people who are genuine and passionate.