Networking events are a strange phenomenon. For many, the idea of standing in a room full of strangers, making small talk and shilling out business cards is very daunting. For others, it’s the perfect way to display their skills and expand their working relationships with others in the industry.
Regardless, these events hold so much opportunity which you need to capitalise on. Where else can you meet like minded individuals who will understand when you talk about the frustration caused by persistent recruiters, or how Instagram still doesn’t have an in-app scheduling function? (Did they not see our Social Media Christmas Wishlist?)
For those who are nervous to get their foot through the door, rest assured that you don’t need a gregarious personality type or a guru-like knowledge of your industry to be a hit at these events. Just follow these 7 easy steps:
1. Have a game plan
What are you personally trying to get out of this? Find a new job? Meet your counterpart at a different company? Go with a purpose and you are far more likely to walk away feeling like you achieved something productive.
2. Break the ice by talking about what you have in common
You might think that your joke about obese polar bears is hilarious but people bond most over things they have in common, see the similarity attraction effect. It’s why we all end up talking about the weather, it’s a universal phenomenon we all experience. Hone in on things you have in common and you’ll have no problems making connections.
3. Play jump rope with your comfort zone
Whilst it’s important to get out of your comfort zone and meet new people, you are not going to make the best first impression when you are nervous. If you need to take a breather, maybe a cheeky bit of Dutch courage that’s totally fine. Know that it’s ok not to constantly be switched on all evening.
4. Know what your USP is
What makes you interesting or memorable? Open with your USP when you meet someone for the first time it will give you something to talk about as well as making you far more memorable in the long run.
5. Pick your networking event wisely.
If you live in a big city there are bound to be a multitude of events you could attend. Picking the right event for your game plan is crucial. If you want to learn more about the industry, then you should head to a discussion panel. If you are looking to meet peers in your industry, an unstructured more social event is for you.
6. Have a couple of questions ready
Prepping questions will certainly pay off over the evening. For example, ‘so how did you get into marketing to start with?’ or ‘have you always been in the sector you’re in at the moment?’ It helps keep the dialog open.
7. Enjoy yourself!
It’s really easy to forget to do this but at the right event you will definitely have a great time. Why not join our digital marketing networking event on the 27th April? Swindig is an unstructured social style networking event and a great way to meet your peers in the industry.
Getting yourself there is the hardest part but it’s important to remember that networking events are set up with you in mind so. So tell yourself that you’re going to get a lot out of the event and you definitely will.