Oh, the awkward dance of the networking event. You know what I’m talking about: you walk into a room of people you’ve never met, dressed in a nice outfit; you’ve likely worked a full day, so upon arrival you grab a plate of food and an alcoholic beverage. There are no available tables, so you stand and delicately balance the juggle between your plate of food, glass of wine, and lack of silverware (for “finger food” that requires such). Just as you think you’ve got a rhythm down…someone comes up to you, introduces themselves, and extends their hand. Uh oh.
So why do we risk putting ourselves in an uncomfortable, and dare I say awkward, position for the sake of meeting someone new?
- Your time to shine! When someone introduces themselves at a networking event, this is your opportunity to make an impression that will leave them with a desire to continue the conversation. Take advantage of the opportunity to passionately speak about your business, cause, interest, etc. The individual will more easily draw energy from the excitement behind your mission. These few minutes are a goldmine chance to stake your claim as someone they’d like to continue to get to know, or perhaps even do business with.
- Referral building. Once you’ve made your impression on someone, you directly increase the probability of continuing a conversation and establishing a sense of mutual trust. This deepened level of trust could lead to an exchange of referrals…presenting you an individual who is already half sold (or at least highly motivated) on doing business with you. A win win!
- Confidence boost. The more times you attend a networking event, and put yourself in the position to meet someone new, you become more comfortable in that type of environment. You’ll learn the tips and tricks of what works for you, how to make a lasting impression, and you’ll walk away with a contact that could potentially help you down the road.
- Inspiration. You have the opportunity to learn what strategies are most beneficial for others and could potentially serve you well in your business. There is a wealth of knowledge that can be obtained simply by talking with other professionals in your industry. Glean from their tactics and incorporate a new wave of ideas into your workplace.
- Name with a face. People might not always remember your name from networking events, but chances are decent that they will remember what you do and your projected energy behind the conversation. Being in a face to face conversation with someone raises the likelihood that at some point down the road they might associate your face/conversation with a need for that service.
Embrace the uncomfortable, step into the awkwardness and you might just walk away with a new client!
If you are interested in building your networking skills and conversing with like-minded individuals in the communications industry, join RPRS for one of our many networking events and monthly luncheons. Information can be found here: https://rprs.org/