Before attending any networking event, it’s important to keep a goal in mind. Take the time to ask yourself, “Why am I going?” This will help you determine your mission and what you want to take away from the experience. Make sure you dress for success and leave a lasting impression. But what else should you know about networking for the first time? If you feel the least bit uncomfortable meeting new professional contacts, this guide is for you. Shed your anxiety and use these ideas to get started.
- Take the initiative. Almost everyone at the networking event will be some level of uncomfortable. Imagine that everyone else in that room is feeling the same anxiety you are about meeting new people. Knowing this can give you the courage it takes to make the first move. Be the first person to extend your hand and say hello. And if a great conversation doesn’t happen, thank them for their time and move along to the next person.
- Discuss commonalities. Of course, to initiate a great conversation it helps to find out what you have in common with the other person. Start by asking them what they’re doing and why they’re at the event. But you can also ask about common interests, family, or pets. Ask appropriate questions to get the conversation started. Share your common stories without engaging in one-upmanship.
- Make connections. One lesson to take away from people who are really good at networking is to always make connections. When you meet someone new, think about others in your network who may benefit from knowing them, or vice versa. Ask them if they happen to know the person you’re thinking of and, if not, offer to make a connection when you have access to email. This is a great way to ask for and get their contact information.
- Network everywhere. Remember, a networking event isn’t the only place to make these connections. To really hone your networking skills, network wherever you are. Talk to people everywhere you go in your community. While you’re standing in line at the bank or grocery store, start a conversation. The more you do it, the more comfortable you’ll become with the process. Introduce yourself whenever you’re in social situations because you never know who you might meet.
Do you want to know more about networking?
At Professional Staffing Group, we can help you meet the right people and find the best opportunities for jobs in the area. Register with us today and let us help you connect in the community.