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Some of us don’t have a problem meeting new people and making new friends, but others find it extremely difficult. Being shy isn’t a crime, but it can certainly feel like it – especially when you’re expected to attend networking events and connect with other professionals in your industry. Related: 18 Easy Conversation Starters For Networking Events If you find yourself stressing out about meeting new people at networking events, we can help! Here are some networking hacks that will help even the shyest of professionals make new career friends:

1. Make A Target List

Hate walking up to complete strangers at networking events and trying to create a conversation out of nowhere? We get that. It’s tough! A great way to make it easier on both parties is to go into the event knowing exactly who you’re going to talk to and why. “If at all possible, get a list of who will be attending,” writes Stacy Harshman in her article “5 Ways To Prepare For Your Next Networking Event.” “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.”

2. Change The Way You Think About Networking

If you go into a networking event with a negative mindset, you’re probably not going to have the best experience. Try changing your attitude – it can make all of the difference. Not only will you find conversations more interesting and valuable, but you’ll appear more confident to others. “Think of networking as a chance to get to know others and as a place where you can seek advice from someone who may come with a different point of view,” writes Don Goodman in his article “5 Ways To Break The Ice At Networking Events.” “You show interest in others and ask for advice, the conversation will naturally redirect itself in a manner where others will be more willing to help you or connect you to people who can help.”

3. Attend Virtual Networking Events

Forcing yourself into uncomfortable social situations can be stressful sometimes but, in many cases, it’s absolutely necessary. You don’t need that extra stress in your life – you’ve already got too much to think about! Take the pressure off by attending virtual networking events. More and more college and alumni groups are using this technology to connect people. See if your school offers one! This post was originally published at an earlier date.

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