Yikes! Crowds of people! And you’re expected to barge up, glad-hand strangers and shove your business card into their paws.
If this seems intimidating, it’s time to hone your networking skills and make the most of conferences, industry events and other places where you rub elbows with potential contacts.
A new, free Ragan tip sheet, “10 techniques to beef up your networking,” offers tips for networking the smart way. Bonus: You’ll have more fun than you would playing wallflower.
“If a meet-and-greet event makes you jittery, rest assured you are not alone,” says business etiquette consultant Diane Gottsman. “Just remember: Most of the conference attendees are just like you—looking for someone to genuinely connect and have a fruitful conversation with.”
Don’t blab. Listen.
The goal of networking isn’t to cough out as much data about your own life as possible. It’s to learn about the other person. Ask yourself, “How much can I learn in five minutes that goes beyond general niceties?” says Mark Ragan, CEO of Ragan Communications.
The tip sheet includes tactics from a range of experts. Learn how to come up with an icebreaker statement and to make use of advance materials from conferences and other events. Find out how to set goals for events—and why you should tell your new contacts about these goals.
“Provide details about yourself and your work, and ask the people you meet to share details about their lives,” Gottsman says. “Prompt them without probing.”
You’ll also learn: