Networking tips for the new year
With another year upon us, it is time for many to get motivated, get outside our comfort zone, and network! Here are a few tips to help you through what can be a stressful and intimidating beginning:
1. Stand out. Dress in a bold color, wear meaningful or statement jewelry, put on those fantastic shoes, or wear a dramatic lipstick. Some of the easiest conversation starters begin with friendly comments about your look.
2. Power pose. You’ve heard about it. Amy Cuddy’s Presence or TED Talk; Andie Kramer & Al Harris’ Breaking Through Bias. Give yourself a few minutes before the event to stand up, set your shoulders proud, and visualize a moment when you felt awesome. Your confidence will show at the event.
3. Smile. A lot. Often people cannot help but smile back and it will invite conversation.
4. If you do not know anyone at the event, approach someone standing by themselves or an odd number group. The former is most likely in your shoes and will be grateful for a wingman; and with the latter, someone is the odd man out who is either looking for an exit or not fully engaged in the conversation--save them!
5. If you are relatively new to or looking to join the association hosting the event, arrive early and offer to help. People always grateful and remember those who make their job/role easier.
6. Make sure to be prepared to relay your elevator speech, an interesting story about yourself, and a current fun fact (i.e., non-controversial). For assistance with elevator speeches, check out “The Look & Sound of Leadership” podcast.
7. Do not overwhelm a great contact you have just met. Take it slow and develop the relationship. It might prove fruitful in ways you had never expected.
8. And give yourself a break. Networking is hard and there will often be those who won’t seem to give you an inch. Make a goal of two-three new people each event and a minimum of one event a month. By putting in that time and effort, before you know it, you will have a fantastic new group of people in your life by the end of the year!