Nervous about networking? Completely understandable. Yet, thankfully Create + Cultivate is back sharing a few quick tips that even a master networker can brush up on. Read these before your next event and be sure to hit it out of the park.
Written by Arianna Schioldager:
While networking can always seem intimidating, it’s something all of our attendees have mastered on site and have been able to take advantage of for their own professional development, and you should too. If you’re looking for ways to brush up your networking skills, we’ve got you covered with the tips below to make sure you don’t lose out on any opportunities next month.
1. Nail down your elevator pitch.
When you’re in a room with 500 other women, be it at a conference or happy hour, you’re going to have to nail down your elevator pitch. Make it concise and straight to the point. No beating around the bush and no overtly selling yourself. BS tends to reek in a crowded environment.
2. Put your best foot forward.
Our next tip comes from our friends at Tulip who know a thing or two about making a first impression. Put your best foot forward! When you feel your best, other people take notice. No matter how big or small you are in your career, as long as you continue to engage and ensure that your strategy is always to make a lasting impression, you will see that people will be more inclined to establish a deeper connection with you. Confidence is contagious … and while it may seem simple, a smile goes a long way — it’s hard to hate a smile!
3. Practice makes perfect.
If you’re feeling antsy thinking about what you should say to start a conversation with someone, practice with your friends and see how you can nail down the starting a conversation with a stranger. From the approach, to how you introduce yourself, to what you talk about, make sure you can simulate an entire conversation with a stranger via your friend. Come in ready with a game plan and see that networking anxiety go away.
Come in ready with a game plan and see that networking anxiety go away.
4. Engage with the crowd, but don’t be an attention seeker.
It’s easy to fall into the hole of talking about yourself and letting people know about all the things you do in a networking setting. But take a look back and think about the last person who wouldn’t stop rambling about themselves.
Exactly. Don’t be that person.
This is why it’s important to nail down your elevator pitch and keep it short, clear, and concise. Give people the Cliffs notes to your story, and leave them wanting more so they are more inclined to email, call, or text you and get to know you more. Rule of thumb: Always keep them wanting to know more.
However, make sure you’re treating the crowd with the same level of interest as you would want them to give you. Be genuinely engaged in knowing who they are, their career, and their story, and see how you can start building a strong connection.
5. Don’t give out your cards, trade them.
Of course, we should always come handy with a stellar set of business cards that we’re ready to hand out. It’s an obvious tip, but one we have to remind you of. Make sure that your business card isn’t generic and can show off your creativity and brand effortlessly.
Also, a rule of thumb to have when you’re networking is to make sure that you’re sure you get as many business cards as you hand out. You don’t want to leave empty handed.
After you’ve finished meeting a new person and have hopefully gotten their contact information, make sure that you’ve written some notes and remember one key point in your conversation (doesn’t have to be business related, it can be something about your mutual love for Honey Nut Cheerios).
Wait a day or two to follow up, and use that key point as a conversation starter for the next time you reach out to them. Not only is this a good way to remind them that you met, but it will let them know that you were genuinely engaged in what they had to say and who they were.
What other networking tips do you swear by?
Image via Camila Gutierrez