Some people were born to network. Others need more motivation. Which camp do you represent?
If you consider networking awkward, you are not alone. Events can feel disingenuous even to the most seasoned networker. This forced situation makes introverted people even more uncomfortable, but luckily, there is good news. With a few tricks of the trade, you can step away from the back of the room and get the most out of networking events.
Featured below are the top 5 survival tips for people who hate networking:
1. Focus on Your New Contact
Instead of thinking about what you want to say, ask your new contact questions. The more you learn about him/her, the more you can add value to the conversation by sharing your relatable experiences. Consider beginning your conversation with a compliment, and see where it goes from there. Remember, sincere flattery does work.
2. Hone in on Key People
If hundreds of people are in the room with you, do not get hung up on meeting everyone. Pick a few key individuals that you can engage with on a genuine level. The more you try to force a conversation, the more nervous you will get.
3. Follow Through
Many people leave networking events with tons of business cards. Go above and beyond expectations by dropping your new contacts a quick note within 48 hours of the event. This tactic will help grow your relationships, and you will be one step ahead of the other networkers who never follow up after events.
4. Pick a Group and Stick with It
One of the best ways to get comfortable is to attend a specific group’s meetings consistently. The more involved you become with that group, the more relaxed you will feel overall. Plus, your group will get to know you and may send new contacts your way more frequently.
5. Remember to Smile
When you get nervous, remind yourself that everyone in the room is in the same situation as you. Many of them are strangers too. Smiles are the ultimate icebreaker, and they let contacts know that you are friendly and approachable.
Networking can be a daunting task, but it can also lead to major opportunities. The next time you find yourself in a networking situation, follow these tips and stay true to yourself. The rest will fall into place naturally. Good luck out there!