We talk about networking a lot here at CGD, it’s an unavoidable part of being a career girl. But sometimes, no matter how much you’ve prepared, the event just turns out to be unbearably awkward. Whether everybody knows each other and avoids you, or the people there aren’t friendly, you can’t just run away when an event gets uncomfortable.
Here are a few things you can do to boost the good vibes at a bad networking event.
Bring a friend
If you can convince a fellow colleague or friend to meet you at the event, you will be much more likely to show up. One word of warning: do not spend the event talking only to them. They can be great to help you ‘warm up’, but don’t use a familiar face as a crutch – that’s not what you came for!
Turn on airplane mode
Another crutch we sometimes rely on at networking events is our bestie: our phones. If possible, turn your phone onto airplane mode to make sure you aren’t distracted by messages or Facebook when times are getting tough.
Set a timer
This is one of my favorite techniques, which applies to anything that we don’t necessarily enjoy. Give yourself just 20 minutes to stick around. It’s a manageable amount of time, and even if you leave after that, at least you know you’ve tried. It also forces us to make the most of our time, rather than spending it besides the snack table, pretending to text someone.
Get your excuses ready
When your 20 minutes is up and you do feel the urge to bail, have a decent excuse ready. This will reduce your anxiety about leaving, and make sure fellow guests don’t feel like they’re boring you (even if they are.)
Written by Cat Neligan.