Networking at offline events can seem daunting, especially when you’re attending them alone. You don’t know anyone, you’re feeling a bit out of your depth and totally lacking in the confidence department. Your instincts are telling you to just go and stand quietly on the side-lines, hoping someone (anyone) will take pity on you and come talk with you.
Does this sound familiar? Your next networking event doesn’t have to pan out this way. Here’s 7 great tips to get you out of that wallflower scenario and back into the life and soul of the networking party.
#1: Set yourself a goal
The secret to a great networking event is to give yourself something to occupy your mind. Setting a goal for each event is the perfect way to do that. Whether you opt to meet 5 new people or make it your goal to find and connect with a VA, set yourself a goal, prior to attending the event.
#2: Introduce yourself to the organiser
The organiser is the person in the know. By taking the time to thank them for organising the event, you’re already starting to interact! You can even share your goal for the event with them, as they can help steer you in the right direction and towards the relevant people in the room.
#3: Make eye contact and smile
You’ll be amazed at how this can break the ice and encourage someone to start up a conversation. Go get yourself a drink and take your time to survey the room, making eye contact and smiling whenever you meet someone’s gaze.
#4: Focus on the other person
If you’re feeling self-conscious, this one will help. Focusing on the other person enables you to steer the conversation onto a topic they’ll know a lot about – and people just love talking about themselves! You can then focus on what they’re saying and keep eye contact. Sometimes all it takes is a nod or two, to reassure the other person that you’re paying attention.
#5: Be yourself
We can put so much pressure on ourselves at networking events, as we try to be the type of person we think others want us to be. Just relax and be yourself.
#6: You don’t have to wait until you’re approached
When you arrive at a networking event, it may look like everyone else is already connecting. They’re busy chatting to colleagues and friends, leaving you with the worry that you’ll never be approached, as they’re all too busy. But remember, it’s ok to politely join in an existing conversation – same as it’s perfectly acceptable to excuse yourself when needed, too.
#7: You’re not the only wallflower at the event
You can guarantee, that you’re not the only person who feels like a wallflower at networking events! Make it a mission, to find another person who is feeling a bit out of their depth. You can then go and introduce yourself – this not only helps you step up, it also helps them do the same too.
Following these 7 simple tips will ensure that you no longer need to feel like the resident wallflower at your next networking event. By putting in that extra effort, you can go in with a solid plan of action, and come away with new contacts and potential business friends.
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