Bringing Confidence and Purpose to Networking Events

Get the Most from Your Time in the Room

If you’re heading to a networking event any time in the immediate future, congratulations, you’ve already put in the work to get your foot in the door. That’s huge. Now it’s time to make the most of it. So, how can you? Here are a few tips to help bring confidence and purpose to networking events and maximize your time.

Go In With a Game Plan

Start out with a plan. It’s important to know where you’re going, how you’re getting there, and who you hope to see at the event. Plan out a few talking points or questions you want answered and run through your 30-second “elevator speech” a few times.

Make sure you know what sort of event you’re heading into. Is it black tie, formal, business casual? Indoor or out? Clothes don’t actually make the man (or woman). However, matching the dress code while wearing something you like will allow you to project confidence and attract the right sort of attention.

Now, take a breath and realize that your plan is probably not going to come out the way you envision it. In networking, much like in the military, no plan survives contact with “the enemy.” Now, don’t start thinking that your peers at this event are “The Enemy” or that you need to go in with a “plan of attack.” This is just a reminder that plans come apart, but planning will allow you to succeed in the event by better preparing you to react to the unexpected.

Relax and Be You

If you’re not already an “old hand” at networking events, they can be intimidating. It’s frequently a lot of people and a lot of noise to deal with. There can also be a lot of pressure to secure a client or land a deal or meet some other unspecified metric of success.

Best advice: if you can, let that all go. Relax, be you, mingle, and let success come to you. Is this easy? It can be. Just remember that you are prepared and where you need to be, doing what you need to do. Then, just roll with it!

Make the Connection

Networking isn’t a science. No college course of however many credits can really teach you how to network. Fortunately, how to network is something we’ve all studied–without even knowing it–since the playground. However equipped you feel like you are to succeed at a networking event, you’re actually far and away more equipped than you think. So, go in and make the connection!

What is “the” connection? You can never really know. You should have a good idea of some people you want to talk to when going into an event. However, it’s the unexpected meetups that can end up being the most influential down the road.

Dive in! Use the emotional intelligence tactics we’ve talked about before and “feel” out the room. You’ll be surprised how quickly things start to click into place. And, hopefully, you’ll be pleasantly surprised with the success your new connections bring you down the road.

Keep your eyes open for networking events. They are must-have opportunities to let people see you face to face and for you to learn what your peers are all about. And, when you go, follow these simple tips to eliminate stress and get the most out of the event. Go get it!

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