It’s a classic scenario: you arrive at a networking event armed with business cards and ready to make connections. But once you get there, you can’t seem to pull yourself away from the wall and mingle with everyone who acts more confident than you feel.
The truth is, you’re not the only person who’s nervous about talking to strangers. Many entrepreneurs feel awkward at their first networking event, even if they don’t show it. The key is displaying confidence. Use the old “fake it ‘til you make it” adage, and you’ll soon be rubbing elbows with other business owners.
1. Get to Know People Before the Event
It’s much easier to network if you have one or two points of contact at the event. Connect with the event planner, who will do her best to make you feel at ease, and consider linking to a few participants through social media and starting conversation before the event. This way, you can make a point of introducing yourself to them, paving the way to meeting other participants.
2. Prepare Your Elevator Speech
If you’ve ever been flummoxed when someone asked you what you do for a living, you know it can make for an awkward situation. Develop a succinct elevator speech that explains your business and your role in a few sentences. Keep it high level; that gives your new contacts the opportunity to ask questions and learn more about what you do. Practice it until you feel confident delivering your elevator speech. Continue reading “10 Ways to Break the Ice at a Networking Event” »