GETTING OVER NETWORKING NERVES!
Networking can be nerve-wracking, but it can also be a lot of fun when you have the right tools. With the Annual Greater Charlottetown Area Chamber of Commerce Biz 2 Biz Expo coming up during Small Business Week, we thought we’d share our top four tips for crushing any networking event!
First: Be prepared. Before attending a networking event, do your homework. Spend some time conducting preliminary research to help you prepare for conversation. Find out who will be in attendance, consider if there are any particular individuals you’d like to connect with, and consider some topic areas that might be of interest. You can never be too prepared.
Second: Just do it! We get it can be hard to initiate a conversation, but start by asking questions about the other person, then listen for ways you can connect with and engage them. If you’re really stuck, find a “wingman” to go with – this can help alleviate some of the pressure!
Third: Be a connector. Make introductions and find ways of bringing people together. For example, if you know someone looking for a service, and meet someone offering that service, introduce them! Networking is all about sharing connections, so include people around you in conversations – it’s easier and more fun when everyone feels comfortable.
Finally: Follow up! When appropriate, drop a line to say you enjoyed meeting and perhaps ask to meet up again. If a direct follow up doesn’t feel comfortable, connect with them at the next event, recalling a piece of information from the previous interaction. This can help the other person remember who you are, as well as show your genuine interest.
Meeting new people can be a challenge, but it doesn’t have to be! Networking can be the greatest asset you have; from making new business acquaintances to forming new friendships, the opportunities are endless when you find the courage to put yourself out there.