5 Tips For Women To Network Better
We’ve already written about how women can benefit from networking. But does the thought of attending an event, meeting and connecting with people in person freak you out? To a lot of us, the idea of making small talk in a large room of strangers just feels forced and even fake. But here’s why we need to step out of our comfort zones and start meeting people offline.
Research has proven time and again that the deepest and most meaningful relationships are forged face-to-face. The recall value your personality and conversations create after an in-person meeting cannot be recreated in the same measure with online connections. So even in this age of digital networks, face to face networking hasn’t gone out of style.
But not everyone is a gifted speaker or an extrovert. It takes a lot for some of us to initiate conversation and it makes us uncomfortable to sustain these conversations with small talk.
Guess what, even the introverts and the socially awkward among you can build long-lasting relationships through networking. Here’s how.
5 Tips To Make The Most Out Of Your Next Networking Event
Understand that everyone is there to meet new people: Yes, it is a networking event and people are there for one sole reason, meet other interesting people. So take out the fear of approaching someone because you think you will be interrupting them, disturbing them or wasting their time.
Practice your opening: It might sound a bit fake or manipulative to go to a networking event with a practiced elevator pitch about yourself. But trust me, it will save you a lot of time and will make you feel more confident when starting conversations.
Every one of us has a story and it is the way we choose to tell it that determines whether it is interesting or not.
Do some research on the people you’re likely to meet at the event and add in information that might be of interest to them. Two things most people are interested in are food and travel. They could be good starting points. If you’re finding it hard to think of such conversation starters, here’s a whole list to get you started.
Listen attentively: You may have heard this before and there’s a reason why this is an oft-repeated advice. It’s just true. No one wants to engage in a conversation with a person who doesn’t want to listen. As an introvert, this could might as well be your superpower. People love talking about themselves and really appreciate it if you invest your time and attention on them. So listen attentively and ask questions with genuine interest.
Don’t over-commit: Don’t think of every meeting as a performance. Nor are you going to find your soul sister every time. But that’s okay! Most women fall trap to what experts call “best friends syndrome” while networking. We invest a lot in our friendships and believe that only such deeply personal relationships can help us get ahead. Coming to think of it, this is almost impossible.
So don’t worry if you don’t become the best of friends, it’s about connecting genuinely at some level. Don’t feel guilty if you don’t really find that connection and don’t over-commit. Only take those relationships you think you might follow through and will be beneficial for both of you ahead. You’ll save both of you a lot of time and effort.
Know when and how to stop: You need to talk long enough to make a meaningful connection, but you should also know how to stop and move on. Because you can’t spend the whole networking event meeting just one person. So let the person you’re speaking to know how interested you are in them and their project and get contact details to connect with them. And, don’t forget to take action on these connections soon enough.
Don’t think of networking as one single event. Instead, think of it as a long-term process that you should invest your time and effort into to derive the best results for you professionally and personally.
Ready to attend your next networking event with renewed confidence?
We’ve the perfect event you can test the waters with. Join us at Femme Palette’s next networking meetup and connect with other inspiring, like-minded women from the Czech Republic.
And, to simplify the meet-and-greet process, we’ve partnered with the networking tool Brella. It’s simple and easy to book 1:1 15-minute meetings with other interesting women for the upcoming Femme Palette meetup. Just follow this link and sign up for Brella and use the code femmepalette to join the event.
Join the Femme Palette community, get access to an online directory of women professionals and fix up offline one-on-one meetups.