Networking: the exercise that seems to haunt us! The idea of circulating a room and struggling to strike up conversations and make meaningful connections after a full day’s work? There are many reasons to avoid networking – it forces us out of the comfort zone to portray the best versions of ourselves under the pressure of making a great first impression.
Take a deep breath and let it go… I am about to release the anxieties of networking and provide a new mindset to this necessary and beneficial activity to make your time spent valuable. Say goodbye to your days of wandering aimlessly, counting down the minutes until you can make an Irish exit. With these tips, you will want to network all day or night long!
MINGLE AS IF YOUR BUSINESS DEPENDS ON IT
Events may seem like they get in the way of your “day job”, but consider them from a business development perspective. You could meet someone, an artisan who could forward your project where you may have been stuck, or a future mentor who could foster your career in ways that you never thought possible. Broadening your horizons in this way is a vital part of keeping your perspective fresh, relevant and in constant forward motion.
GO SOLO…THEN WITH A FRIEND
Try attending events solo so that you are forced to talk to strangers rather than talking to your best friend who you came with. Grab a drink, there is usually an open bar!, and introduce yourself. Be interested (and interesting)!
There are also benefits in inviting a friend. Ever heard of a wing woman?! No doubt, it’s fun to tag team with your design pals, and they can also introduce you to people outside your circle or vendors you don’t know, too.