You step into a roomful of people you don’t know. There is limited time to make connections. Add to it the anxiety of putting your best foot forward. Doesn’t sound like a relaxed situation, right?
Whether you're an entrepreneur or professional - there is no running away from networking. We all are familiar with the drill of exchanging cards, introducing ourselves and getting to know one person at a time in the room.
I have been to my fair share of networking events. And I have figured that a few things work out quite well. Some, I stumbled upon myself. Others, I learnt through observation. Here are 3 blunders you should definitely avoid at a networking event:
1. Not keeping your hands free
Think about it! You need your hands to shake hands with people, hand them your cards and get theirs. And you wont be able to do that smoothly if you are juggling with a cell phone, a hand bag and probably a goodie bag you just got at the registration desk! Find a place for your stuff so that they don’t get in the way of you meeting people with a smile on your face.
2. Not maintaining eye contact
I know social media is an inseparable part of our lives and we want to live tweet and tell people about the awesome event we are a part of. But keep that to the minimal during a networking event. Looking at and typing into your phone while someone is talking about their work is rude. And you know how hard it is to resist the temptation to look up notifications on the phone. So keep them away to begin with.
3. Being a silent spectator
Don't silently observe others, get involved. In a recent networking event, I asked the panel a question after their discussion, with a one line introduction. And that one liner was enough to inform the audience about what I do. I had a couple of people catch up with me later since they were interested. This technique is really great when you use it in large events. But make sure that your question makes sense and you don’t use the air time just for the sake of introducing yourself.
These easy tips can go a long way in making the most of your networking time. Do you have any favourites for better networking? Do post them in the comments below.