It can be daunting entering a room where you don’t know anyone, introducing yourself and getting a conversation going. Here's some tips from our team on how to network:
Be yourself and not someone who you think you should be. Being genuine is one of the best things you can do, and it’ll likely make the connections stronger and you’ll be more relaxed.
Talk to people that are on their own as they may be more nervous than you are. Plus, haven’t we all been in a situation where we don’t know anyone and find it hard to break into conversations? Be bold and make the first move.
Introduce people that you know to other people. Introducing people to each other will only help your relationships and may make those people more inclined to introduce you to others.
Don't talk about work until the person you're talking to does. Get to know them for who they are outside of work and let the topic of work come up naturally.
Never talk about politics. Let’s not get into disagreements about politics. Stick to topics that help create connections.
If there’s alcohol available, ensure you don't drink too much. No one likes that person! Remember it’s a professional setting.
Don’t be afraid to ask – ask for introductions or information if you know the person you’re talking to has connections you want, especially if it’s at a networking event. Politely, of course.
Others are probably nervous too. Remember whoever you talk to at a networking event is also there to network. There isn’t any need to feel awkward or nervous. Ultimately when it comes down to it, everyone’s 80% water.
Write notes, discreetly, throughout an event on who you’ve met and key information about them to help you remember after the event, as it’s likely you’ll talk to a lot of people and you don’t want to get confused. Just. Don’t. Be. Obvious.
Network online, don’t wait for an event to do so. Just make sure when you portray yourself online, you’re still being yourself not someone completely different. Try and mimic how you’d act in person to create more genuine connections.
Networking doesn’t have to be scary or nerve racking. There’s a way to do it successfully and comfortably for everyone. When it come down to it, it’s all about getting out of your comfort zone in order to create connections with people that you can help or can help you.