Networking Basics: 5 Networking Tips Without Feeling Intimidated
Believe it or not, getting event clients isn’t always about your resume and how many events you’ve planned.
With the events industry more competitive than ever and an anticipated growth rate of 10% by 2024, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, being an effective networker is important to your success.
(BTW – that’s a faster rate than the average growth rate for all occupations!)
The issue is most of us hate networking and cringe at just the word!
If you’re an introvert, you probably want to pull a blanket over your head and hide until it’s over.
If you hate small talk, the idea of spending hours with strangers in a crowded room makes you want to stay home because it feels too contrived.
Networking isn’t an event, it’s an ongoing process of building relationships with people you actually like and want to work with.
Networking is necessary to your success as an event planner. It’s unavoidable. So how do we make it easier (and less cringe worthy)?
5 Networking Tips Without Feeling Intimidated
If you hate networking but know you need to make connections, here are 5 networking tips without feeling intimidated.
- Use Social Media
In this age of social media and online access to virtually anyone anywhere in the world, it’s even easier to connect and network with people before you’ve met them in person and following the event.
Not sure what to say before the event? No problem!
Let’s assume you’ve done some homework and prep before the networking event and you’ve looked at the ‘guest list’ (this is easy to do since most events are listed online now).
Find 5 people confirmed for the event that you’d like to meet and connect with, then reach out to them on social media saying, “Hey (insert their name). I see that you’re also attending the (insert event name) on (insert the event date).
Have you been to this event before?
It’s my first time attending so I’d love to connect. Here’s a link to my (insert social profile like LinkedIn, etc.) and I’ll be wearing a long green dress with gold shoes, so let’s be sure to meet!
This intro is very informal, it asks a question which encourages engagement, and by telling them what you’ll be wearing you’ve given them something visual to focus on in a crowded room so it’s easier to spot you.
- Prepare three meaningful questions
Networking can feel intimidating but if you show up prepared, it takes some of the anxiety away and shows people that you’re interested in them.
The quality of questions you ask people will dictate the quality and depth of your conversations and relationships.
Because your aim is to get to know the people you’re talking to, I suggest staying away from work related questions.
Here are three questions you may want to use:
- What qualities do your closest friends have on common?
- Outside of work, what’s your favorite hobby?
- What’s one thing you’re grateful for today?
- Meet the Host
Most people forget about the host of the event, but they’re often the most important person there and can introduce you to people that you need to know and who’d benefit from your event business.
- Think Long-Term vs. Short-Term
Relationships build gradually and over-time. When you meet someone don’t push your event services on them. Ask questions, get to know them and then they’ll be more interested in learning more about you and your services.
- Giving vs. Getting
Finally, and most importantly, focus on giving instead of getting. Often, when it comes to networking, what you have to give has nothing to do with you or your event services. The focus is to give something that has nothing to do with you or your business.
One of my favorite ways to ‘give’ at a networking event is to gift five people (usually the same five I connected with on social media before the event) a book. My recommendation is a book called “The Go-Giver”. If you haven’t read it, get it now. It makes a great read and gift!
(Please note this is not an affiliate link and we don’t make any money from suggesting the book)
These five networking tips are just a start and I’d really like your input.
In the comments below, let me know where your best connections came from. Was it from a networking event, through mutual friends or acquaintances or something else?
Feel free to leave as much detail as you’d like, but remember links to outside posts, videos, etc. are deleted.
Thanks for your insights!