Dragging your feet days before attending a business event?
You already confirmed and paid your ticket. So, you’ll have to go.
You sip your cup of tea. Its fragrance reminds you how peaceful it would be to stay home.
Imagine how much work you could tackle in front of your laptop instead of going out?
And the last networking event wasn’t fun. You remember the young man asking if you were looking for a mobile app developer. You answered no. Five minutes later, he was already chatting with another group. You felt awkward standing there.
Deep down, you know that connecting with your peers is beneficial to your business.
Want to make networking a more comfortable experience?
Discussing at a deeper level with like-minded attendees will change your experience. Make your meetings more rewarding. And put you at ease.
The tips below will help you look forward to attending your future events.
Your time is precious.
Be intentional when you select an event. Know your goal.
Are you looking for hearing about the latest trends in your field?
Evaluate how much the agenda and presentations excite your curiosity. If you have a hard time with the networking part, you will still learn something from the event.
Looking for new leads? Make sure that your customers attend the events you register to.
Want to meet with peers and potential partners? Engage with them prior to the event when possible. You will create a warmer connection when you see them in person.
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Don’t stick with your wingman
If you know someone interested in the event, suggest her or him to join you. This is also an opportunity to reconnect with her.
With your wingman, you will feel more at ease when you approach the crowd. Use your confidence to invite other people to join your conversation. If you see another person standing close to you, make space and welcome her to the discussion.
Avoid spending the whole event with your wingman only. Agree in advance that both of you will connect with other attendees separately.
Practice introducing people to your wingman. You will expand your networking skills and increase your confidence.
Be the one
You are standing in the middle of the networking room. The only person who dares to approach you is the waiter making sure that all attendees taste the fancy appetizers.
You look at the time on your phone. It’s been only 15 minutes since the last time you checked the clock but it feels like it was half an hour ago.
You are not alone.
Other attendees will be in the same situation. They apprehend starting a conversation too.
You notice a person standing by herself few feet away from the table where the drinks are served. Like you, she is slowly drinking her glass of wine, observing discretely the various groups chatting in the room.
Why not be the one engaging the conversation?
Adopt a confident posture. Walk toward her with a friendly smile. Ask her your favorite open-ended question to break the ice.
You can do the same thing than with the wingman: if another attendee approaches the two of you, invite her to the conversation.
If the event lasts the whole day and you still have few hours to go, take a break.
Give yourself some space to recharge.
If besides checking your emails, you don’t know what to do, review and clean up your notes. In few days from now, you will be grateful that you did it while your memory was still fresh.
Doing some focused work will fuel your energy as an introvert.
Quality over quantity
A networking expert taught you to only spend few minutes per attendee you talk to.
You also learned how to end conversations and switch to the next person with the goal of bringing back home as many business cards as possible.
How connected are you now with those contacts?
You know you feel happier if you have more meaningful discussions at the event.
Remove the pressure of coming home with pockets stretched with business cards.
You have the occasion to meet in person with peers who might be traveling back to their hometown the next day. Don’t feel obligated to end a discussion you enjoy.
Be present with each person you meet.
Who knows? You might meet your next client or business partner?
Positive mind, positive outcome
Now that you read the networking tips, you are prepared for your upcoming event.
Pat yourself on the back. You took the most important step when you registered for the business event. Resist the temptation to cancel. Adopt a positive mindset. Smile.
You have everything you need to create an enjoyable experience. You are ready.
And rest assured that your cup of tea will be there when you go home.