How to Calm Those Networking Event Nerves
Ah, another networking event and you can’t get anyone to go with you, but you must go. Breathe. Head high and chin up! Everyone has anxiety about networking events when they are neither familiar with their surroundings nor anyone attending.
There are three types of people who attend networking events:
- The “Liquid Confidence” Networker – This person enters the room and quickly goes to the bar, fading into the background.
- The “Plus 1” Networker – This person enters the room, look around, and casually walk to the food table to find someone, anyone, and attaches to them for the whole night.
- The “Purposeful” Networker – This person confidently enters the room, smiles and looks around. Then, they walk to the food table and begin the evening.
Because you are there to network, your priority should be to connect with other professionals. Eating and drinking should be at a minimal. There's nothing more embarrassing then looking like you're undercover homeless or worse, you're a Lush!
The savvy networker realizes the goal is to make as many connections as possible. It is important to remember you have seven seconds to make an impression. However, be strategic. You do not need to collect cards that you do not intend to use. Pace yourself and make meaningful connections. People you might not get around to meeting will take notice of you.
Be approachable and greet everyone standing nearby. Make small talk while maintaining eye contact without staring. Know your “good” conversation topics, and keep your right hand free. A firm handshake displays confidence and is your start to networking.
One more thing. Be sure to seek out the host and introduce yourself. Thank them for the invitation, because you want to be invited to other events. However, do not stay more than a couple of hours, and definitely do not close the place down. As gracefully as you entered, you should depart the same way.
Here's a little Corporate Moxie Trivia: Is it appropriate business etiquette to wait until asked to present your business card while networking?
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