How do you get people to approach you in networking situations?
I know it's important to approach others when networking, but I feel like some people are always attracting others to them. What could I do to be that person? #networking #business
Networking isn't a matter of getting people to approach you. It's about you approaching them and exuding confidence. A simple "hello" and a smile, followed by a firm hand shake let's them know that you're interested in talking with them. Once you've established a basic introduction, having a good "elevator pitch" may also help you to facilitate a more substantial conversation.
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Just a smile or a simple “hi” has always helped me.
I would suggest just being well-read so you can strike conversations easily and just remember to smile and be confident. For specific events I would be prepared. I remember going to meet the firms in college, which was an important networking event in order to secure an internship for accounting and finance majors. I am a really shy person so this event made me super anxious. To prepare I would make sure you know what you are looking to gain from the event and also who you are interested in working for by looking at the networking events website for participants. Make a goal for the event (ex. I want to talk to these companies before I leave). Bring your resume, ask for business cards, talk to them, smile, ask how they are, let them know what you have to offer (elevator pitch), be prepared to answer the question - why are you interested in us?, and make sure after the event to follow-up with a email to thank them and remind them who you are. Don't be shy to approach people even if you don't know the company, its okay to explore your options as well - see what they are looking for and see if its something you are interested in. Being confident is the most important part though overall - make sure you do what you need to do to exude that confidence, for me it was having a good outfit, looking professional, and being prepared. Remember first impressions happen within the first 30 seconds of meeting someone (or less), so keep that in mind as you talk to others. Also, resumes are judged within 3-5 seconds! Hope that helps!
I have found networking events - especially business networking events - to be very stressful for my friends who are more introverted, so the tendency can be to stand somewhere and wait for folks to come to you. The more gregarious folks (and those who understand the potentail value of those who are less outgoing) may find and engage you. But more likely they will seek out and engage with those who appear ready to mix and mingle. Aside from those folks who can't stop talking about themselves for two minutes, most people don't want to carry the entire conversations, straining to draw out a real dialog. So as others have said, come prepared and have goals. Why are you there? Who do you want to meet? What do you want to accomplishment from this networking event? Make sure you know the answers to those questions before you put yourself through the ordeal.
Business cards are a great "prop" to help with networking conversations. Make sure your information is current and your cards are presentable. They don't have to be fancy or expensive. They just need to be clear and informative. Don't shove them on someone who doesn't seem receptive or intesested, but offer them during the introductions. And if someone offers you their card take it, thank them for it, and spend a few moments actually reading what's on it. Their company, title, location, etc. may offer options for additional conversation. And quickly pocketing someone's business card without really looking at says "I'll be throwing this away on my way out" even if you really mean to read it more thoroughly later.
I'm not a huge advocate of handing out resumes at a networking event unless it's generally understood that it is expected and welcomed. Business cards are easy for everyone to carry around in a pocket. Resumes require a briefcase or at least a folder of some sort to keep them neat for giving, and then may become a hassle for the recipient to keep up with throughout the event.
This should go without saying, but since alcohol is often served at networking events, be careful. Having a drink in your left hand (never your right) can be reassuring. But it's usually having something to do with your hands that is most helpful, so it's okay if that drink is water or soda. Just don't let your nerves drive some bad decisions about consumption.
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