Are you a bit shy when it comes to meeting new people? Do you have a lot to say, but seem to stutter when it comes to actually saying it? You are not alone! Networking can be very stressful. And like speed dating, you don’t have a lot of time to make a good impression. We say, “just relax, it’s not a date!” But, if you can’t relax, here are some tips to help you become a little more comfortable at your next networking event:
- Go to networking events when you feel good. The better you feel, the more you will feel like mingling.
- Bring a close acquaintance with you. Make sure that the person you bring is as serious about the event as you are – no loud talking and laughing with your friend. You and your friend are to support one another until you are both comfortable mingling with the rest of the crowd.
- Practice! Get prepared before you go. It won’t be the same as if you were actually speaking with someone, but at least you have an idea of some responses. If someone asks you a question, either have an answer ready, or say, “let’s ask this guy.”
- Get there early or at least on time. Going early allows you time to be observant of others and of things around you. You will find many things that will help you strike up a conversation. Mentioning that someone is dressed nicely is always a good one, but it can’t be used on everyone. Watch others. Listen to how they interact with one another to find the conversation that closely matches with what you would say (if you had thought of it first). Meanwhile, talk about the event itself. For example, “This place is really nice,” or “That dish looks good, what is it?”
- Call people by name. People always respond better when you say their name instead of, “Miss,” or “Sir.” Calling a person by name sometimes makes them stop to think if may be they have met you before – which is another conversation striker!
Looking for networking events in surrounding areas? Check us out on Facebook for a list of upcoming events. Search, “NCWorksGuilford.”
Written by: Joan Tucker, CWDP, MBA