Tips for Surviving Networking
I attend networking sessions with a great deal of trepidation. Here’s some tips to reduce your nerves for your next networking event.
I don’t know about you, but I always attend networking sessions with a great deal of trepidation. And to me it’s a bit like public speaking. I know a lot of people admit to having difficulty getting up in front of people and talking, and in my mind networking is a scaled down version of this.
Granted, you don’t need to get up in front of a large group of people and talk, but you do have to approach people you don’t know, and try and converse with them. So how do you come to grips with this and reduce any anxiety you may have over networking session.
1. You are not alone
If you think that you’re the only one at the event who is nervous, anxious, and unsure of how to start up a conversation with a complete stranger, then think again. You’re not.
2. Talk to someone who is standing alone
Don’t pick a group of people huddled together to break into. Instead, approach someone who is alone, introduce yourself and ask them how they are finding the event?
3. Get the other person talking
Leading on from the point above, get the other person talking. Ask open-ended questions, and try and find some commonality between the two of you. Find out about their organisation, what they do and see what you can learn.
4. Don’t try to work the whole room
Focus on coming away with 2-3 connections or 1-2 if it’s a short session. It’s all about quality not quantity, and making connections with a few key people. Don’t go to a networking session armed with 50 business cards to give away. It’s the more in-depth discussions that you have which will make you remember that person and them of you.
5. Consider Taking a Colleague
Often having a familiar face at the event is enough to ease your nerves. Consider attending a networking event with another colleague. But don’t spend the time just chatting with your colleague. If they are a pro at this, watch and learn then try and put into practice what you’ve seen. The addition of a familiar face can help ease nerves and make you feel a bit more relaxed about the whole networking situation.