Will Kintish, I left the room surprised with how much better I felt about the prospect of networking in the future.
Here are three things I learned in the session that I thought I could share...
1. It’s just meeting people.
I know it sounds obvious, but once you realise that networking is painfully simple, it takes a lot of the stress away. Leave the sales pitch at the door, don’t worry too much about not seeming interesting or impressive enough, just go in with the mindset that you are meeting new people. It’s not really any different from other types of social gatherings: the relationships you form may lead to some great opportunities, but initially, simply get to know them as people. Everyone is there to meet new people, and you are just as good as anyone else there, so go in with the mindset that you’re going to have a good time. Introduce yourself, use a couple of icebreaker questions, and let the conversation flow from there.
2. Read the room
3. Remember the name
Make an effort to remember people’s names when they tell them to you. People will get the impression that you are interested, and therefore will take far more of an interest in you. Business cards can be an extremely useful tool, though don’t hand yours over without conversing a while first and if you are offered a card it’s a good idea to ask for permission to call them later for a follow up.
On a final note, the next time you go to a networking event, have the mentality that you’re looking forward to it. Everyone in the room will be there for the same reason, to create opportunities. You have everything to gain and nothing to lose.