Networking is necessary. However, we know that not everyone is a natural networking king or queen. Some of us tense up, while others of us open up. But there are ways that you can improve your networking skills, regardless of your current abilities. Here are our top 5 tips on how to work a room.
Wear a Great Outfit.
It doesn’t matter if you’re a man or a woman; wearing a great outfit will make you feel more confident, which is the best way to work a room. It just gives you that extra boost, because we’re all a little insecure from time to time especially in a large room surrounded by hundreds of other people.
More importantly, even if you tend to stick to black or neutral color palettes, try to go for something a little brighter in your closet. Why? It will make you more memorable. Someone might not remember the guy in the navy suit, but they will remember the guy in the blue suit with the pink tie, matching pink socks and custom cufflinks. Let your personality shine through.
Set a Goal.
Whether it’s collecting 10 business cards or talking to someone on a deeper level about how you can connect, set a goal for the networking event you are about to attend ahead of time. This way, you’ll know when you’ve reached it, and you can feel better about leaving, knowing you’ve accomplished what you’ve set out to do.
Want to know some other interesting goals or tactics that we’ve used to achieve them? Take a set number of business cards that you’ve counted ahead of time. When you’ve run out you’ll know how many connections you’ve made. Or, reward yourself halfway through the evening. For instance, no glass of wine until you’ve connected two other people in the room.
When you walk into that room, even if you’ve had a horrible day, you need to turn on the charm and own it. Sometimes it’s easier said than done, but you’re there for a purpose. If you just go in with a careless attitude, people will notice, and honestly, it will be a waste of your time. People love having conversations with people in the moment, so be present and own the room.
This goes hand in hand with our third tip, but if you’re in a networking event just to strictly get as many cards as possible, people will see right through that as they see you buzz around the room, having only conversations of 30 seconds or less. You need to have a positive energy, and act like you are truly engaged. Be someone that you would want to connect with, which can lead to further conversations and great opportunities for your business and your company.
Make Sure You’re In The Right Room.
We’ve all gone to the wrong kind of networking event before. Sometimes you get there, and you realize it’s not what you thought it was going to be, or maybe it’s just not the right group of people. If it’s the wrong room, don’t feel the need to stay long. Keep a list of which events are successful for you, and which ones made you feel like a bit of an outsider.
If you’re unsure about an event ahead of time, check in with some colleagues to see if they’ve attended before. It never hurts to ask.
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