The idea of networking can be daunting, especially if you’ve had no training or experience in talking to people in a professional environment.
It’s estimated that 55% of human interaction is non-verbal, this means that your handshake is more important than ever. Be firm, confident and look them in the eye.
Be Knowledgeable – Research the event and the invited people before you arrive, it’ll help you feel more prepared when you arrive and therefore more confident. It also shows that you’re knowledgeable in your field. This will impress!
Arriving Alone – While taking a friend or a group of friends to a networking event can make you feel more comfortable when you arrive, they can prevent you from meeting new people. Force yourself to make a new friend by arriving alone.
The Group Approach – Now you’ve arrived alone, approach a group of people instead of another person who is standing alone. While it’s important to include everyone at these events you should try to avoid becoming attached to someone early on… after all there’s a lot of opportunities in what can be a short time, you should try to investigate a variety of people in the room.
Information – When approaching a group, disclose some information about yourself but don’t get carried away. Ask them questions, be interested in their career and their interests, be genuine.
Linger a Little – Once the event has begun winding down, take this time to speak to anyone you met early-on in the event, this will help you leave a lasting impact.
Business Cards – Don’t bombard people with your business cards, if the conversation is relevant and you feel like you could both be beneficial each other, or you’d like to keep in contact, offer a card before you move on.
However everyone is comfortable networking slightly differently. Practise little things such as handshakes and researching at home to ensure you’re as prepared as possible to maximise the rewards networking could mean for your company/career.