Do you get all sweaty palmed at the thought of having to talk to a stranger, walk into a room full of people that look like they are all best friends? Do they all appear to turn and stare at you, waiting for you to speak?
When I worked as a corporate EA, I thought nothing of walking into a crowded room and talking to whomever I needed to. I was big and ballsy. I ran the office, and people just expected me to waltz in and get done what needed to be done. Standing up giving presentations was easy, instructing a room full of people was easy (maybe I was meant to be a teacher). I was pretty comfortable because I knew 9/10 people in the room.
Not much has changed today; however, I am a little more reserved when I walk into the room. I look for familiar faces, and I look to see body language and I look for people who are engaged with what is happening. I like to check out the lay of the land. It is important to feel comfortable when you speak with people you do not know. Now when I walk in to a room, I may know 1 or 2 people.
Why do we network?
Networking is easier when you have knowledge.
Being comfortable in your own skin and knowing your businesses and niche inside out makes it so much easier to talk to strangers.
Think about it, everyone who is at a networking event has the same goals in mind.
- They want to build relationships
- They are looking for partners
- They want referrals
- They want to grow and learn
So how do you go about doing all of these things?
When you walk the walk, you can talk the talk.
We all get nervous going into a room full of strangers, we want to be confident but not come off cocky. We want people to remember us, but we do not want to come on that strong that you act as their long lost friend. That is just a little too creepy.
Remember, the other people at the event are possibly just as nervous as you are. So which one of you is wearing the better poker face?
Simply be yourself. The other attendees want to get to know you, not the pretend persona we put on because we are trying too hard to impress them. They will see through it, and you will feel silly for trying to be someone your not.
It is perfectly okay to say you do not know, or you were not aware, you are there to learn and grow also, just as they are.
Top 5 Takeouts
- Be yourself
- Know your business and product
- Be the SME
- It’s okay not to know everything about everything
- It’s okay to be nervous
What do you do to help get you through networking events?