Networking is one of the most key aspects of any budding startup owner’s career. If you want to get your business off the ground, you’re going to need to make excellent contacts. That’s easier said than done, especially if you’re not much of a people person. You need a way to catch their attentions. You need a way to break the ice.
Set Goals For Yourself
If you’re nervous about breaking the ice at a networking event, it’s unrealistic to expect too much from yourself. Instead, set basic goals about what you hope to achieve while you’re there. If you just make one important contact today, you’ll have made significant strides forward. If you set your aspirations too high, you’ll often find that you end up standing in the corner not saying a whole lot!
Preparation Is Key
The biggest preparation aspect of networking is understanding how to break the ice before you arrive. Set yourself up with a few lines that will ease you into the conversation. Why not take the time to study those who you might be talking to so you’ve got an instant topic of discussion? Why not make yourself stand out with NFC business cards and USB stick handouts? Find a way of forcing yourself into any conversation, but do it with politeness and professionalism.
Don’t Approach The Bigger Groups
Approaching a big group for networking purposes can work to your advantage, or it can work to your disadvantage. My advice? Don’t approach the bigger groups for now. Ideally, you want to be targeting the two or three-person groups, in which you can make yourself heard relatively easily. In particular, a nervous network newbie is going to struggle if they’re trying to network with a group of ten. It all goes back to the advice about goals that we mentioned earlier.
Practice Ahead Of Time
Networking isn’t something that you can just be great at overnight. Well, some people can, but they’re few and far between! The rest of us need plenty of experience to get up to scratch. Instead of using an important networking event as practice, why not do it in the local area? Find ways to break the ice with locals that you’ve never met before, for example. The more experience you get, the better you’ll be.
Stay In-Tune With Current Trends
Breaking the ice is one thing, but maintaining a conversation is another. If you want to be able to do that, you’re going to need to be able to talk about current trends. It’s important to stay up to date with pop culture topics and business trends, for example. It’s OK if you don’t like something, but educate yourself to the point where you can have an opinion. Otherwise, you might find yourself getting drowned out and forgotten altogether.
It isn’t all that difficult to break the ice as a networking newbie, even if you’re a little anxious about the prospect of it! Once you’ve done it once or twice, you’ll be just fine.
This article was provided by ellie jo