Does networking scare you? You’re not alone.
Walking into a room of people you don’t know can be intimidating, but with a little preparation, much of that fear can be relieved.
How To Prepare For A Networking Event
Here are five things you can do before your next networking event:
1. Think Of Topics You Like To Discuss
How to start a conversation is a common fear among networkers. Tackle that fear by thinking of things that you like to discuss such as movies, books, hobbies, traveling, pets, or kids. This mental preparation helps with conversation starters.
2. Know Who Will Be At The Event
If at all possible, get a list of who will be attending. If you can’t obtain a list before the event, go a little early and ask the organizer for the information and then identify who you would like to meet. Look for people who are associated with organizations you would like to research or work for. Having a plan gives you a sense of purpose and eliminates the fear that you will be aimlessly walking around.
3. Know What Message You Want To Convey
You want people to know what your strengths are and what opportunities you are seeking. When people ask you what you do, be prepared to tell them what positions you are seeking, what companies you are targeting and what your talents are. This is sometimes known as an “elevator pitch” because it is short enough to say to someone that you meet in an elevator. You may want to practice it on a friend so that you feel comfortable with your delivery.
4. Track Your Contacts
The magic of networking is transforming a contact into a mutually beneficial relationship. The only way that can be done is if you follow up with the person. Ask for a business card or at least get an e-mail address. At home, either develop your own tracking system or choose one that you can use consistently. The most important thing that is you are able to easily find the contact information when you go to follow up with the person.
5. Know How You Will Follow Up
A way that I like to continue the relationship with a contact is to ask if they are on LinkedIn. If they are, I go home and immediately ask them to connect. If they aren’t on LinkedIn, I send them an email telling them how much I enjoyed meeting them. Depending on the person, I might also ask if they would like to meet for coffee. This is an easy way of furthering the relationship.
Networking is a wonderful way of building relationships. Use it to your advantage by being prepared. I also challenge you to be a little bold. The ancient Romans summed it up well with their axiom “Fortune favors the bold.”
This post was originally published on an earlier date.
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