Do you hate networking? Does the thought of meeting numerous people and making small talk make you uncomfortable? Do you always end up standing in a corner quietly sipping your drink? No matter how much you dread such networking events, it is no doubt very important for your career advancement. These events may be the ticket for a great job opportunity for you. Here are five useful tips that will not only make you feel confident but will also help you to shine in these networking events.
If an individual hates networking then it is a no brainer that he hates large crowds as well. Such people usually shine in small gatherings but clam up in large gatherings. The simple trick to overcome this problem is to arrive early. This way you will be able to engage with the early comers and make a good first impression. This way the people you meet in the first half will have you fresh in their minds before getting drowned in countless business cards and different faces. The best part is that if you arrive early and have fruitful discussions with the many people at the beginning of the event, you won’t even have to stay till the end of the event.
Make Your Business Card Attractive
One way to ensure people remember you is to have attractive business cards. Typical standard cards are boring and usually get lost in the flood of business cards received at an event. However, an attractive and unique card stands out from the rest. One you hand over a creative card, it may start a great conversation and makes an excellent first impression. People will remember you through your business card.
The best way to avoid awkward talk and standing in a corner in a networking event is to volunteer. When you volunteer at an event, it provides you something to talk about and a chance to move around the room and meet people. Make sure you volunteer for something which will portray you as helpful and place you at a good position in the room. This will ensure people notice you and will show them your indispensability.
Who said professional gatherings can’t be fun? You don’t have to be serious the entire time to portray that you are a working professional. Share some funny stories or jokes to connect more with others. Find a common interest and strike up a great conversation on it. Be careful not to overdo it. Maintain a balance. Strike a conversation about something of mutual interest and move towards some serious topic, crack a joke or narrate a funny story where relatable. Make the conversation lively!
Do Follow Ups
Merely attending a networking event isn’t enough. It is crucial that you follow up as well. Contact them by giving them a call, texting them or emailing them. Make sure you do the follow up within 2 days of the event. Make this follow up natural, mention something you two enthusiastically talked about or what that person was most interested in. Send them a link to an article they might be interested in. This is also a great way to make a great impression and won’t even seem like you are promoting yourself.