After nearly two years in isolation, many individuals may feel a degree of social discomfort when interacting with strangers. For some, it's second nature to interact socially, but for others, it isn't. If you're in the latter category, your communication (both verbal and nonverbal) may be a bit rusty. (It's OK since we all know it's been a hard two years.)
These ten strategies will assist you in refreshing your networking abilities if you're apprehensive about attending an in-person conference or event.
1. Be certain of your abilities and competence.
It's easier said than done, isn't it? Incorrect! You might be one of the 7 out of 10 individuals who suffer from Impostor Syndrome if you lack confidence. Remind yourself — you're intelligent and capable; otherwise, you wouldn't be where you are in life.
Being confident (but not overconfident) will assist you in standing out and creating a good first impression. When individuals enter a large, physical gathering for the first time, they are usually somewhat apprehensive. Don't be hesitant to walk over to the isolated individual in the corner and introduce yourself. They are probably feeling a little awkward themselves, just like you. (And who knows who you'll meet!) If you want to brush up on your public speaking skills, consider working on presentation skills to get rid of any nervousness.
2. Maintain a professional appearance.
For many individuals, messy buns and sweatpants were a work-from-home norm. If you're going back to the working world after a long absence, it's probably time to go through your closet and find something you like rather than your dressing gown and pyjamas. (Remember that adage "if you look good, you feel good." It's true!) Wearing an outfit that is appropriate for the occasion and makes you feel good will only assist you in feeling more self-assured at real-life gatherings.
3. Use your connections to connect with others.
If you see someone you know at an event, approach them and ask if they would be willing to introduce you to others they know. Networking through others is a great method to develop meaningful relationships since there is already some degree of rapport between you and the person who introduced you.
4. Make sure you have your elevator speech ready.
"So, what do you do for a living?" is one of the most popular openers. At social gatherings, this is usually acceptable to mumble through, but at conferences, you'll need a flawless elevator pitch. Having a readily available elevator pitch will take away any concern about how to reply and make you seem intelligent, professional, and self-assured.
5. Instead of dominating the discussion, ask questions.
It's annoying when someone else is in complete command of the discussion. Pay close attention to what your new connection has to say and ask follow-up questions. This sales approach will result in a more interesting conversation and a favourable impression.
6. Keep the discussion brief and to the point.
It's unusual for individuals to just want to converse with one person the whole night through at a networking event. Be considerate of both your and the other person's time and keep the talk short, under ten minutes. After that, offer your business card so you may contact back later and continue the discussion.
7. Share your digital business card.
Digital business cards are a cutting-edge networking instrument. They may be updated at any time, store more information than a traditional paper business card, and may be distributed to an unlimited amount of people. For networking, we recommend Tappett. With Tappett you can share contact information, and social media pages in a second! There are options to show your business address as well as booking a meeting right away or whenever the contact wants. Tappett also gives them the opportunity to share their contact information with you right away.
8. Follow up with any new connections you've made.
You'll have to invest time and effort into growing and maintaining your network, so don't expect it to happen overnight. Make sure you follow up with someone you meet within one day after meeting them so they remember who you are. Consider inviting them to get coffee or connect on LinkedIn—this may help build and maintain the new connection.
9. Be yourself.
The most essential aspect of networking is to be genuine. Being yourself will demonstrate that you are genuine and reliable—someone they should include in their network.
10. Finally, end on a good note.
The world has had enough negativity in the last two years; maintain your conversations lighthearted. Ending on a good note will suggest that you are more open to continuing the discussion outside of the event or conference.