You know what they say, “It’s not about what you know, it’s about who you know.” Networking is such a key component in life and it will always be, so don’t be caught up in social media so much that you forget how to communicate and interact with people in real life.
Networking isn’t easy for everyone, especially those introverts who tend to shy away from being the first to initiate conversation; so why not let your outfit be your introduction? Don’t be afraid to stand out, it really is a great thing! Here are 5 tips for conquering a networking event:
1.Be professional, yet BOLDY dressed. Where a print button up under your blazer, or better yet where a colored blazer other than black. Like Anna Wintour says “If you can’t be better than your competition, just dress better.” No but seriously PROFESSIONAL is key; just don’t be afraid to stand out!
2. After interaction ask for a Business Card! This way you can follow up with those contacts you met at the event and shoot them a nice “It was a pleasure meeting you” email. Sidenote: it’s nice if you have your own business cards to give as well.
3. Meeting a million people within one hour makes it near impossible to remember anyone’s name (if you’re like me anyway). So when a contact tells you their NAME, make sure you repeat it right away so it’s easier to remember. A simple “Hi Heather, I’m Danni nice to meet you” will do the trick. P.S. if you’re truly networking you’ll only have time to walk away with a few true & meaningful connections so it shouldn’t be hard to remember 3-4 people’s names.
4.FIRM HANDSHAKE ladies! Seriously you can bank on it that professional people are judging your handshake (I’m guilty). A weak handshake is not only awkward, but it’s going to be hard to take you seriously. (True story: this girl I thought was awesome in college didn’t get a business opportunity and her weak “creepy” handshake was cited as one reason why). It’s the first thing you do upon meeting, so make sure you have that together.
5. CONFIDENCE and EYE CONTACT is key! Don’t doubt yourself, even if you feel like you don’t belong remember that you’re there for a reason. We’re all human, nobody is better than the next. Don’t lose power to your thoughts; you’re a star and you got this!
Here’s a bonus, when it is all said and done remember to smile, relax and be yourself. When we’re ourselves, we are most comfortable. So go out there and work the room. Cheers!