Don’t like networking? Many people do. For most of us these networking events just don’t seem natural. You have to wear a name tag, shake hands and tell people over and over what you do.
Don’t like networking? Many people do. For most of us these networking events just don’t seem natural. You have to wear a name tag, shake hands and tell people over and over what you do. While you may want to meet people to make your career or business more successful it seems this is a challenging way to do it. Well networking events don’t have to be frustrating or difficult. There are some ways you can truly make the most of networking events – even if you are a shy person.
Tip #1: Find the best networking event for you.
There are many different types of networking events. Some are for niche professionals, others are for solo entrepreneurs and there are many other types out there. If you haven’t liked networking events, perhaps you haven’t found the “right” networking event? Connecting with professionals you have things in common with can be fun and comfortable. You have some topics you’ll want to talk about and enjoy meeting them. Take the time to learn about networking events and send an e-mail or call before attending to see if this is the ideal networking event for you.
Tip #2: Bring plenty of business cards.
This is a tip you’ve probably seen, but many who network actually discover they get to the event and they don’t have business cards or they don’t have a current one! So take the time now – to be sure all of the information on your business card is up to date and easily will help someone get in touch with you. Get an attractive business card holder that you can put in your pocket to hand them out to people.
Tip #3: Networking is a 2 way street.
Understand that networking is a 2 way street. Many of us attend networking events because we are looking to advance our careers or improve our business. It makes perfect sense that the people you meet with have the same thoughts in mind. Be prepared to be a helpful resource to others that you meet, knowing that they will in turn be a helpful resource to you. While not every person you connect with will have every connection you need – the more connections you have – the better!
Tip #4: Have an elevator speech.
Career professionals talk about having an elevator speech, a short, few sentence “speech” you can sum up what you do or what you are looking for so as you meet people you don’t stammer or take a super long time to explain your career background or reasons for networking. Taking the time to create your elevator speech will help to connect you with even more people at any networking event.
Tip #5: Attend more than one networking event.
Don’t like networking events? You’d be surprised but many who say this have only attended one or two networking events. It’s not fair to decide you don’t like networking if you’ve only tried it once or twice. It could have been a group of people that time that just didn’t connect well with you or just not the right networking event. Or your mind could have been on other things. Get out there and attend at least five networking events – and then you’ll have a broader perspective about networking. We know you’ll like it!
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