That being said, for those who may still feel a tad on edge when they consider having to 'network', the tips below may be helpful.
Instead of walking around an event armed with business cards you shove at anyone who says "hello" to you, an unplanned opening line, no target individual in sight and the 'oh so desperate to be booked' vibe, these methods and tactics may have you feel more confident. Give them a try!
⦁ Get clued up! - What is the aim of the event you're attending? Who is the founder/organiser? Who is involved (from talents to sponsors) and in what way could you perhaps be part of the team in the future? What do you have to offer, if anything?
⦁ Have an aim. Why are you there? What do you hope to gain?
⦁ Do you! Be true to who you are (from head to toe, literally) - if you're uncomfortable in what you are wearing it will show and may send the wrong message/signal.
⦁ Social media is your business card/CV (to a degree, sadly; in fact annoyingly) - folks aren't likely to look through your actual credentials unless they like who you 'appear' to be online. Tidy up your profiles, make sure your name is the same, or similar across all.
⦁ What is your conversation starter? Will it be in relation to the event you're attending, or the weather that day? Are you going to introduce yourself then invite the other person to talk about themselves first? Know what you intend to say before you approach.
⦁ REMEMBER: networking means to have a chat; to get to know someone! You can do that anywhere, anytime, with anybody. So, try to start a conversation with the person who serves you the next time you go into a shop. You may find yourself talking to a superstar in the making!
⦁ Attend solo - you don't need to have a friend tag along just so you don't feel 'silly', or alone. It shows confidence when you arrive to an event on your own and that you also want to be approached; you're there to openly meet new people.
⦁ Eye contact is more important today than ever before. People are a lot better at reading one another nowadays and that starts with the locking of eyes during a chat. I mean, don't burn a hole in their pupils but, make sure you show them that you are keen to talk by paying attention with your eyes. Failure to do could have them lose interest and cut the convo short!
⦁ Your phone is your note pad - record all vital information in a draft email and send it to yourself (so, should your phone crash, you don't lose the notes you've made) and immediately (after leaving the event) follow those you connect with on social media so, you can start building a 'relationship' through content interaction.
⦁ However, do not be glued your phone and, if possible, don't keep it in your hand the entire time. You want to appear ready to mingle and will also need your hands free to greet with a handshake, take a drink (or nibbles) that may be on offer etc.
⦁ Make sure you carry chargers for any devices you use regularly that you plan to take with you to whichever events you choose to attend (just in case).
⦁ Document the experience (primarily for yourself) by taking pictures and video footage (yes, for Instagram, snapchat, and the rest, if that's your thing), but, also because, you never know how that content might benefit you going forward (in terms of creative projects you may embark on).
⦁ Be about getting to know the people not just collecting contacts. Folks can smell such an agenda a mile off and tend not to like it even if they know that's the reason for the actual event!
⦁ Finally, do not chase anyone. If you've made an attempt to speak with somebody and they (quite blatantly) show they're not interested, leave them be. There's plenty more people in the room/venue, I'm sure!
Do you have any networking tips of your own?