You turn the page on a brand new week in your diary. You notice there’s that networking event you’d forgotten about coming up on Thursday evening…
Oh well. Despite being mildly frustrated at your own shoddy memory, you’re quietly confident. You’ve got this – you’re no networking novice after all.
Wednesday night rolls around and it’s a completely different story.
Suddenly you’re horrified at the thought of mixing and mingling with a bunch of very unfamiliar faces.
Suddenly those extra grey hairs and those extra few pounds around the waist become all too visible.
You forget all professional lingo.
You have no idea what you do even though you’ve been in your job for years and years. You even start to doubt your own blinkin’ name.
This, friends, is what is known as the pre-networking jitters.
Sounding a little too familiar for your liking? Keep scrolling…
How to reduce nerves before a networking event:
Here are our top 5 tips to help you chill out before you enter the lion’s den…
Catch up on world affairs beforehand
As toe-curling as it may very well be, small talk is part and parcel of networking and social conversation. In a professional environment, there’s a strong chance this might cover current affairs and politics.
To save yourself any awkward silences or red-faced moments, make sure you’re in the loop with the latest news.
Consider your opinions on some current news topics so the dialogue can flow more freely should you be asked the question.
Rehearse a bit of spiel about who you are and what you do
As the famous riddle master, Dr Seuss once said: “Today you are you, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is youer than you”.
Unfortunately, this can all go straight out the window as soon as you’re put in a high-pressure environment.
To combat this, we recommend running through a vague introductory speech about who you are, where you work and what you do so you don’t wobble at the very first handshake.
Pick an outfit that makes you feel like a flippin’ rockstar
It’s simple – whether it’s your favourite pair of shoes, make up that feels like war paint or your sharpest suit, don whatever sends your confidence skyrocketing.
Say hello in the digital world first
The wonderful world of social media means it’s super easy to track somebody down in their little nooks and crannies of the internet.
You can reach out to somebody ahead of the actual event and then meeting them face to face for the first time might not seem such a daunting prospect.
LinkedIn and Twitter are the obvious choices when dealing with professional relationship building but it really does depend on the nature of the networking event.
For example, if it’s an event for architects and interior designers, you might want to seek out your fellow attendees on other platforms like Pinterest and Instagram. It’s your call.
Don’t forget your business cards!
For Pete’s sake, do not forget to take your business cards with you. The last thing you want to be doing is fumbling around looking for a pen to scribble your email address on a wine-stained napkin.
Make sure you take enough cards too – it’s better to have too many than too little.