Networking can be kind of scary. It takes you out of your comfort zone and forces you to try to shine in a room full of strangers.
That’s definitely intimidating, to say the least! So, in preparation for our upcoming event, we’ve put together a few of our best networking tips to help you stand out in the crowd and feel more comfortable in during your conversations.
1. Dress to impress
Show up looking your best! If you dress the part people will notice and take you more seriously. You can even wear a statement piece like a great tie or piece of jewelry to act as a conversation starter. It will make it easier for you to start chatting with someone new when they notice your great outfit.
2. Come prepared
One of the most important things you can bring to a networking event is a few business cards. If you make a really great new connection you want to have a way for them to contact you after the event ends. Even if you don’t have a specific position or business, a simple card can go a long way if it means you’ll get a call or an email after the event that leads to a great opportunity.
3. Mix up your table
This is probably the scariest of our tips. But it can turn out to be super valuable at an event like Toronto World Leadership Forum. Play musical chairs between sessions. Sit with new people every time you come back from a break. This will give you the ability to meet more people throughout the conference and make a lasting impression on some of your table mates.
4. Ask to be introduced
A really easy way to meet new people is to use those you already know to get an introduction. These simple introductions don’t just give you a new contact. They also give you a little boost of authority because someone is willing to use their own already established connection to give you an opportunity. If you don’t know anyone at the event, introduce yourself to one of the organizers. They’ll know lots of attendees and can start a conversation for you;
5. You aren’t interesting – THEY are
It doesn’t matter if you own fourteen horses, a helicopter, and speak 7 languages; people like it when you listen to them. Make sure you listen before blabbing on about yourself. In other words, make sure that conversations aren’t all about you. And that your new connection feels like they’re gaining an attentive and empathetic colleague instead of just a boastful and self-centered individual.
6. Plan your questions
Don’t get stuck talking about the weather! A few days before the event take some time to figure out a handful of great questions that you can ask new connections. Maybe it’s asking them about their favorite business app. Or what their number one tip for advancing in their field is. Whatever your questions are, make sure that they are unique and help you to move the conversation forward instead of getting stuck in mediocre chit-chat that won’t create a lasting impression.
Networking is just a simple conversation between two people, but it can be a tough route to navigate. Following these easy tips, you should be able to make your way through every networking opportunity that arises in your life. With this in mind, always be prepared and you’ll definitely shine.