How to network naturally
Networking can be easy
In a recent blog post, I shared that networking events IRL have been hugely beneficial for me (weird when most of my work is online!). Networking—even just the word—can feel icky though! And at first it's just plain terrifying.
So here are my tips to make in-person networking feel a little easier when you're new to all this...
1. Try to avoid making faces like I am in this photo. At the very least, keep them to a minimum.
2. Introduce yourself briefly, but then ask about them. People like to talk about themselves, so play into that. If you ask questions first, they're likely to be more engaged when it's your turn to talk.
3. Nail down your "elevator pitch." Aka, that quick snippet that summarizes what you do in a way that interests people enough to ask more.
4. Don't assume everyone wants to know more and hijack the conversation. If after your concise introduction they don't seem interested, it's okay to politely part ways and move on.
5. Don't try to sell everyone you meet. Think of networking as connection building, brand awareness, and educating rather than selling and I bet you'll feel a lot more relaxed. No pressure!
6. If appropriate, you don't need to stick to business! We're all humans and lots of us enjoy talking about things that aren't related to work.
7. Do bring business cards. Don't throw them around like dollar bills.
8. If you know a lot of people in the room, try to chat with someone new! It's easy to stick within our cliques, but you never know who you might meet when you're running your own show.
Hopefully this helps! Leave your own tips in the comments if you have other ideas.