Meeting the right people at an event can be tough. You are in a room full of strangers, many who can help your career, and you have no idea how to act or what to say. We have collected our top 10 networking tips on how you can go from awkward introvert to social butterfly at your next event.
1. Be Yourself
Don’t try to be something or someone you are not. You are trying to land a job, better your sales, and meet new people. They will find out the real you eventually; just relax and show your true self. You would want them to be authentic, so you should be the same.
2. Go to the social events
Many times at a conference, trade show, or luncheon there will be time for mingling while trying to eat or get a drink. Don’t use these moments to rest and relax, or to hide in the corner on your phone. These are meant to be a more relaxed moment during the event, use them to your advantage.
3. Don’t just talk about the industry
Sure you can talk about the happenings of the event, but feel free to talk about other stuff too. The weather, your favorite sports team ortv shows are all fair game. You never know what you might have in common with someone on a less serious topic which will help you feel more relaxed.
4. Arrive early
When attending the main event, try to be early. You can approach smaller groups of people who are also just arriving. This can be less intimidating to walk up to someone if the group is only a few people.
5. Don’t be afraid to jump into a conversation
This one can be tricky and scary at first, but go ahead and try it. Don’t be rude, but if you have something to add, just join in. Listening is always important too; and if the conversation is serious and not pertaining to you, don’t be afraid to politely leave the conversation and find another one.
6. If the event has a hashtag, use it!
This can be a great way to connect with others at the event. You can share ideas and images relevant to the event and keep connections long after. Just don't spend all your time looking down at your phone, keep your head up and connect in person.
7. Set small goals
Having a set plan or goal can make it easier to make networking not as overwhelming. Don’t try to meet everyone in the room, but rather set a goal of meeting a few new people. Having a handful of new connections with people who you have a strong relationship with is better than meeting a ton of people whom you barely know.
Sign up to help out at an event. You will meet the other volunteers and connect with them. You will also have a way to introduce yourself to the other attendees. You might be handing out paperwork or signing people in. Whatever it is, use this as a chance to talk!
9. Take notes
After you meet someone and exchange business cards, write down a few things to remember them by. This way you don’t confuse their information with someone else and can have some way to connect with them later.
10. Follow up
Meet a great speaker? Love the conference topics? Have advice to fix someones problem? Whatever the reason, try to follow up with people when possible. Let them know you enjoyed meeting them, then tell them you enjoyed your time at the event and fix a problem or answer a question they may have had.
Trying to strike up a conversation with someone new can be a challenge. With some practice, you can become more at ease whenever you are in that situation. You won’t be a networking expert at first, so don’t worry. Just go out there and try; you never know who you will meet next!
Like the idea of having lifetime career advice? Through our Career Services Department, students and alumni of Specs Howard have Career Advisors at their side helping them navigate the media industry. If you are searching for a job, internship, or just need some career advice (maybe more networking tips?), our Career Service Advisors are here to help. Come on in to take a tour of our school and learn about the other resources that are available to our students. Click here or the button below to get started today!