Attitude and techniques can help you hate networking a little less.
Is networking necessary? Not if you are content in your job and never plan on leaving the company. Let’s hope the company is willing to along with your plan.
If you’re just starting your business, however, then networking is among top tips for a start up and a way for you to potentially meet people who you are going to be able to turn to when you need some guidance.
Networking can seem dull, a waste of time, and fruitless; except for the freebies that some people tend to indulge in. Maybe you’ve wanted to attend the upcoming networking event in your area, but something as simple as the amount of Instagram followers you have is putting you off. You might feel like you’re going to get judged by others if you don’t have thousands. This most likely won’t be the case, but if it helps to know that growing your instagram quickly can put you at ease, hopefully, you’ll finally make the most out of these networking events.#Tip: Before you attend a #networking function, ask yourself, What is my point? Click To Tweet
People attend these events for various reasons. Over the years I’ve heard:
- My boss makes me.
- For the free food/drinks.
- To hook-up.
- I was walking by…
- To pass out invitations to my workshop.
If you detest networking functions, but must do it for opportunities, to promote your business, or look for work, change your attitude. Naturally, we all have a goal in mind (or else it could be a waste of time.)#Networking tip: Make your first goal, to learn about others. Click To Tweet
1. Ask, ask, ask. Putting someone else first helps us forget that we are nervous, that we must deliver that engaging 30-second pitch, or how to talk about ourselves without boring others. Now and then you will get someone who’ll talk your ear off, hand you their card and nonchalantly walk away without giving you or your memorized spiel a second thought. Move on and toss their card in the garbage receptacle when you get home.
2. Smile. Even when you are standing alone. A smile makes you look approachable and someone who is positive.
3. Approach the right group. Although awkward, stand by a group who looks like they are engaged and happy. In a setting like networking, they, or someone in the group should acknowledge you. Viola, you’re in. The “wrong group” is when you’ve stood there for a bit and no one makes an effort to acknowledge you. Quite rude and contradictory to the premise of networking, but don’t sweat it–move on to the next group.
4. To eat or not to eat. Personally, I rarely eat when I’m at a networking function. My top 3 reasons:
1. I’m there to talk. Difficult to do when I’ve just stuffed a ranch-dipped carrot stick in my mouth.
2. I run the risk of spitting a half-chewed morsel. (I’ve had someone’s chunk-o-something land on my lip; no thank you!)
3. My hands are tied up. Why am I there? To meet people. I’m not saying you cannot eat, but be selective. Don’t arrive “starving to death,” consider eating while others eat or find a corner. And please, do not lick your fingers.
5. Keep it light and positive. Keep your personal drama to yourself! If you’re in a bad mood or have a personal problem, this is not the place to share it. I often recommend that it’s better to stay home than attend when you’re attitude isn’t right.
6. Joining in a conversation. If you’re new to the group, don’t interrupt, take over, or change the topic. Listen first. If you don’t know anything about the topic, ask.
7. Don’t take it personally. If you get the vibe that someone just isn’t interested in meeting you or chatting with you, politely excuse yourself. Don’t force the conversation– that will be unpleasant and awkward for everyone involved. Move on.
Helping Businesses and Individuals Find Success Through Better Communication and Social Skills
Rosalinda Oropeza Randall, Social Skills and Civility Presenter, Media Source, and author of “Don’t Burp in the Boardroom.”
Presentations are available to support HR policies, sales teams, up and coming managers, millennials & new-hire orientation process, service technicians, professional development events, conferences, college/university students, interns. For more information, please contact me, 650.871.6200.
©2017 Rosalinda Randall. All Rights Reserved.