Meeting new people can be intimidating, but the truth is, it’s important for both your personal and professional well-being. If networking events aren’t your thing, I challenge you to get out there and attend at least two this year. Before you go, however, there are a few things you should know in order to have a successful night of connecting. Here are a few:
1. Arrive early.
Getting to networking events early allows you to establish yourself, get comfortable, and start conversations with a few people before everyone else shows up. This is a great strategy to use if you get intimidated easily when walking into a room full of strangers. Arrive early!
2. Go solo…
While it’s fun to bring your friends and colleagues to networking events, you don’t want to be falling back on them whenever you feel uncomfortable. This won’t motivate you to meet new people on your own. So, next time you register for a networking event, challenge yourself to go solo.
3. …But have a wingman.
Okay, so when I say “have a wingman,” I mean “have a beverage or a plate of apps.” If you’re like me and never know what you should be doing with your hands, having a little “wingman” in your hand, it makes it easier for you to focus on your conversation rather than feeling self-conscious. Wingman for the win!
4. Meet at least three new people.
Make it a goal to meet at least three new people during the event. Having a goal will help motivate you to bust out of your comfort zone and go introduce yourself to strangers. Word of caution, though: Don’t set your goal too high, otherwise, you won’t give yourself time to have meaningful conversations with the people you meet.
5. Be genuinely excited to be there.
It’s important to be genuinely excited to be at the event and to meet new people. Enthusiasm attracts people. People want to be around people who are happy, excited, and genuine. So, get excited to talk with people. Don’t be the person who’s constantly looking around the room and clearly not listening.
So, if you want to make the most of networking events, try these things before your next professional soiree!
by Ariella Coombs
Photo by Shutterstock.com