Preparing to attend a networking event where you will be representing your company can feel a lot like preparing for a date. In the run-up to a networking event, you could feel very anxious and like your chances of landing that next big customer or client might hinge on this one meeting.
It’s no wonder that, with such thoughts mounting in your mind, you could ultimately wilt under pressure and so rue your efforts on the day. Here are ways to help prevent yourself from buckling.
Aim to develop genuine personal connections
As the event gets underway, you could neutralise a lot of the potentially unproductive pressure by reminding yourself not to rush to tell other attendees about yourself and the business.
After all, talking excessively about yourself wouldn’t be a good way to garner a good impression on a date – and you can benefit from similarly approaching a networking event. First focus on asking the other delegates about what they do. This tactic can help you to cultivate personal connections.
Smile and nod
As a delegate to which you ask questions comes forth with their answers, listen carefully. When you do, you want to look genuinely interested in what you are hearing. Smiling can make you look more open and welcoming as well as help in leaving a lasting positive impression, as Forbes reveals.
A few nods wouldn’t go amiss, either – but don’t go overboard with them, or else you could inadvertently emulate a bobblehead doll, warns an Entrepreneur article.
Hit the ground running – and listening
You can benefit from applying your listening skills even to conversations that you haven’t yet joined. Yes, “yet”. After joining a new group of people, spend a few minutes listening to how the conversation is unfolding. Then, make a comment that naturally furthers these exchanges.
This would mean not drawing attention back to you and your work, which would bring the chat to an abrupt halt, but instead acknowledging a crucial point recently raised in the conversation.
Don’t adopt the “Superman Pose”
Sadly, thanks to a particular 2010 study, many corporate networkers might have been given the misleading impression that standing with hands on hips can bode well for their promotional efforts.
However, this psychological theory of the “Power Pose” or “Superman Pose” has since been discredited, making it potentially kryptonite to your chances. Try to adopt comparatively natural body language, including preserving good eye contact without hunching over or crossing your arms.
Resist sticking to a strict agenda
Returning to the point about relieving pressure at networking events, you could struggle to do so if you are overly intent on gathering new leads or distributing a particular number of business cards.
It would be a better bet for you to aim at being yourself to portray an air of authenticity. Furthermore, seek to make new friends before you think of trying to convert them into business contacts. For County Durham businesses, our venue can provide suitable meeting rooms in Chester.