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6 Simple Tips for Networking Your Way to Success

by in Networking

Close your eyes and think back to the first networking event you ever attended.

I was straight out of grad school at an industry dinner and I latched onto my co-workers like a lost puppy. I remember sitting at a table with several men who had clearly been in the industry for decades. I sat there politely nodding my head as they rattled off acronyms and terms that I had never heard of. The thought of it still makes my palms sweat.

Did you have a similar experience?

Networking can be extremely intimidating, but it gets easier over time. Trust me on this one.

If the thought of networking still makes your heart race, here are some strategies you can use to help make you feel more at ease: 

• If you won’t know anyone at the event, call the organization ahead of time to let them know that you are coming. Ask them if they have an ambassador or board member that would be willing to introduce you around.

• Offer to help with check-in or volunteer that night. You’ll get to meet attendees as they walk in the door and have an excuse to stay stationary.

• Show up early so you don’t have to walk into a huge crowd.

• Approach groups of 3 or more so you’re not interrupting a potentially intimate conversation OR find someone standing alone and talk to them.

• Look at the person’s name tag and ask them what their company does. If you are already familiar with the company offer a personal story about them. Maybe you’re a customer or you have an uncle that works there. Perhaps you just saw their ad on TV.

• When you approach a group have a conversation starter prepared in advance. You could reference the location (“This is a great room. Have you ever been here before?”) or the group (“This is my first Greater Lowell Chamber event. Do you attend a lot of their functions?).

Would you ever take a test without studying? Treat networking the same way and you’ll be well on your way to an A+ networker!

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