Thank you so much for your feedback on my first Fast Five post. I seriously love when you comment and ask more questions and let me know how I can help you!
Taking you right into the next subject: Networking – this has been a huge area of intrigue for me on a personal level because I focused a ton on networking in the beginning of my career and have often given advice to friends and family who are trying to tap into a new industry or opportunity.
Networking is tough because it is not something that we all want to do. Speaking for myself, I would much rather be at home on the couch with Choco than at an event where I’m nervous or uncomfortable about being in a room full of strangers.
But it is a fact of life and there are methods I employ to help me through these situations and I’ve outlined my Fast Five Networking tips below.
Set a magic number. Listen I consider myself an extroverted introvert. I struggle internally with social situations but no one would ever assume that because I’ve mastered coping mechanisms to get me through an event such as networking. One key technique is to set a number..whether you say you’ll go to an event for one hour or speak to 10 new people and get 5 new contacts or business cards. Having these goals that I’m working toward put me at ease when I’m initially entering a situation that raises my anxiety and I typically find that focusing on that strategy takes the pressure off recalling where I actually am and it allows me to appear more confident.
Ask questions. But don’t hijack the convo. I can hold my own in a conversation and consider myself pretty good when I’m meeting new people. A major part of that is to have a set of simple yet engaging questions and if there are certain people you want to approach (like a keynote speaker for example) do your homework and have a few you can fire off that pertain to their area of work and that you know will catch their attention.
Bring business cards or have an online strategy to provide your contact. If you do bring business cards make sure you brand yourself with something unique, oversized or memorable. Nobody wants to be the card left in the middle of the stack that no one remembers to review.
Smile. Sounds so simply and perhaps even silly but trust me, it’ll help you relax and put your new contacts at ease. It also helps people remember you. No I don’t have any scientific stats on this but I have been in conversations where a new contact has called out the fact that I smile, make eye contact and appear physically engaged which alludes to confidence and let’s people know you’re actually paying attention to them.
Follow up. This one is just a no brainer yet it’s something we do the least. But think about it: you put all this effort and energy to attend an event and nail it within the circuit. You walk away feeling excited and motivated, probably with a stack of business cards of amazing people you can add to your network. Why stop the conversation there? It is only just beginning. Follow up is so critical because it allows people to see that you take their time and your goals seriously. Plus it’s an amazing opportunity to dive deeper into the questions you asked in person and request a follow up meeting or meet up. This is where you truly form your network and is the most important tip of them all as it’s the reason you networked in the first place.
So there’s my round up. Please comment below with follow ups and questions so I can keep the conversation going.
Happy Networking littles, x!