If you hate networking you’re not alone. Most people blanch at the thought of jumping into a room full of strangers. They’d rather stay home and forego the business contacts that such events can lead to than put themselves in that situation.
I shared my tips and tricks for dealing with that fear and working a room for a column wrote in this month’s issue of Connecticut Lawyer. It’s based on my remarks for the Connecticut Bar’s Young Lawyers Section.
Here are a few of the tips I shared in the article for your use and amusement:
- First Day of Day Camp – Inside every one of us is a nine year old who just got off the bus at day camp. We remember that horrible feeling when we faced a mob of kids, all of whom seem to already know each other. Our reaction is to get back on the bus until it’s time for it to take us back home. That nine year old springs back to life when we’re faced with a room full of business people at a networking event. Stuff her back inside!
- Timeliness is next to network-liness – If you’re like most of us, you tend to put off leaving for such events until the last minute. Don’t! Get to the event on time, so you can talk to the people you want to meet before they get involved in other conversations.
- Your cellphone is not your friend – Texting or talking on your cell at the event or near the entrance is a no-no. Nothing says “I don’t want to be here” more than someone immersed in their phone. If you must take an urgent call during an event, move to a private area so people entering the room don’t get their first glimpse of you on the phone. And one more thing about phones: Turn them off before you make your entrance. A vibrating phone is almost as distracting as one with a Darth Vader ringtone.
- The name tag; the dilemma – Put your name tag on the right shoulder. That way someone shaking your hand can move their eye up your arm to your name. This is, by the way, the most frequent question people ask me when I do networking training. So if you’re someone who grabs the name tag in your right hand and slaps it on the left shoulder, know you’re not alone.
Networking events offer you the opportunity to make new contacts and lay the foundation for productive business relationship. Overcome you misgivings and jump in. It will be worth it.