POSTED ON 28TH JUNE 2018 BY NATASHA MOORE
So you've mustered up the courage to at least make it to the venue at 9pm at night when you could instead be watching Corrie with your slippers on. You tentatively open the door and recognise a grand total of zero people. Now what? Well, here's what I would do if I were in your shoes (or slippers):
1. Bring Cards
Not the playing kind, the business kind. By taking the time to get your brand name and contact details printed out to share shows you're serious about your career. It also makes it easier for the person you spoke to on the night to remember you/ keep in contact with you more easily.
2. Keep away from the walls in the room
The shy amongst us will naturally gravitate towards the wall in hope of passing through it to avoid the petrifying situation before them. So a bunch of shy people on the periphery are less likely to mingle. And time is precious so even edging an inch toward the centre of the room makes you more likely to bump into someone willing to talk. **Note I'm in no way saying every person near a wall is an inconsolable nervous wreck, many interesting folk hang near walls too, this is merely my experience from networking events!
3. Shake their hand
Is it too formal? Well, maybe. But in my opinion you're better off introducing yourself with a handshake rather than a big wet one on the cheek. Especially if they're a stranger. Hand shaking shows respect and politeness. 2 qualities I'm sure anyone would like to display when making a first impression.
4. Who to approach
We've all been there, judging the book by its cover, only to find out it was a terrible read. In other words don't take someone's appearance to be a direct sign of their approachability. leave judgement on the back burner for 45 minutes and jump right into talking to the person over at the bar or near the loos (well maybe not here).
5. What questions do I ask them?
Well, their name would be a good start, where they work, what's there favourite colour. Joke. Come prepared with questions you genuinely want to know the answers to. There's no shame in bringing a notepad with questions and it's a smart way of retaining useful answers and contact details also.
6. How to get out of the conversation if I don't think we can mutually help each other out?
You see their mouths moving but you're completely oblivious to what they're saying. In other words - you. want out. But how to achieve this almost impossible goal? Remember to be polite, no need to be rude or blatantly obvious that you would like to finish the conversation You could perhaps say you are just heading to the bathroom and actually go so you don't lie to them! You could pass them your card and say it was great chatting - take lead in closing the conversation. Or you could introduce another person into the chat and then slip into the abyss when they get (captured) brought into the conversation.
I hope these networking tips helped, if not. Sorry. Have fun sticking to walls (kidding). You probably don't need my help you social butterfly!
Written by Natasha Moore
Instagram - @hearandseek
Website - https://hearandseek.wordpress.com