We hear it all too often, “It’s not what you know its who you know”, and that saying might just be true. It’s great for those with endless connections and family members across the world but not so great for those of us starting out with very few friends in the business. This is where networking comes in, and it doesn’t have to be anywhere near as scary as it sounds!
1. Be Yourself. It’s all too easy to get caught up in business and work at these kinds of events, after all, that is why you go to them. However, if you see networking events as less of a work chore and more of a social event then you will probably open up a little more and appear much more approachable. We got a top tip the other day, check on social media to see if you can find anyone attending beforehand and connect with them, that way it won’t be so awkward when you first arrive.
If you’re introverted, you might want to check out our guide to networking successfully
2. Follow Up and Make Contact. It’s way easier to email or text but if you want to create a personal relationship which can ultimately lead to a better working relationship, then you need to get in the habit of speaking on the phone, it’s way more engaging and will more than likely leave a lasting impression instead of a full inbox.
Once you’ve made initial contact with someone at an event be sure to follow it up, after all, that’s what these events are for!
3. Compliment People. The main reason most of us attend networking events is to hand out business cards, shake a few hands, maybe nibble at some free food and then run home as fast as we can.
Instead, try to engage in conversation with people and talk about something other than business. A simple compliment such as “Ooh I love your bag” can work wonders and can really open up a conversation, everyone there is human and is probably open to engaging in a normal light-hearted conversation just as much as you are
4. Accept Invitations. Often it’s far too tempting to turn down invitations and never really take yourself out of your comfort zone but be sure to follow up invitations from people you don’t really know who are in the business as its the best way to make new friends and connections. Go to events with an open mind and you may even enjoy yourself.