While networking is recommended for your career, it is not always an easy thing to do. Especially when you find yourself in an unfamiliar setting with no familiar face. It can be so disconcerting during such times and you might not know what to do. If networking more is part of your new year resolutions for your career, here are tips on how to go about it on unfamiliar situations.
1. Say “hello”
This is the best introduction to people you don’t know. You don’t have to stand there looking stranded and confused. Just approach someone, hold out your hand and say, “Hello, My name is so and so from company XYZ..” and wait to hear what they say then pick from there.
2. Find a conversation piece
If you are not good at starting conversations, the following conversation starters might work for you;
- What do you think about the speaker?
- This is a great turn out. Is it your first time to (Event name)
- I see you work at Company X, nice to meet you. My name is Y and I work at company Z
- Mind if I join? How do you all know each other?
- My name is X, I like the question you asked during the Q&A.
3. Be Confident
Confidence is an attractive quality in a person that draws people in. Work on your confidence via practice. When in a new environment act and walk confidently around people, but be courteous at the same time. Move around and engage different people even if just for a few minutes each.
4. Find Some Common Ground
When you meet and talk to people, try and find common ground with the people you are talking to. It could be a role or even someone you know in common. This is an opportunity to talk about topics that are common grounds and further know people in your industry, as well as getting worthy connections.
5. Move Around
Don’t stay in one place for too long. You do not want the conversations around you fizzling or drying up. Walk around the room and interact with as many people as you can.6.
6. Do not Shove Business Cards in People Faces
Nothing is more annoying in a networking event than people shoving their business cards in your face even before you get to know them. If you must distribute your business cards, save it for the end of a conversation and let it flow smoothly into the conversation. Practice giving out your card if you must.
7. Do Not Hog Conversations
When networking, listening and asking questions works better than just talking about yourself. Show genuine interest in what people have to say. Do not bore people with excessive talk about yourself.
8. Look for Other People who Might be Alone
You are most likely not the only one attending the networking event alone. Try and look for people like you and start a conversation with them then work the room together.
9. Follow Up
Once the event is over and you have made worthy connections, use the business cards you collected to reach out to specific people you feel you share common interests. Let them know you were happy to meet them and that you are available for further collaboration.
10. Attend More Networking Functions
Attending a conference or networking event alone might be a little intimidating when you don’t know anyone. However, the more events you attend the more people you meet. Chances are that you are going to meet familiar faces from previous events. So when you get a chance to attend an event in your industry or career line, take it.