Networking can be scary. Sometimes you only loosen up after you’ve had 4 glasses of wine and by that time you’re telling anyone who’ll listen about how you once sharted at work. In reality, 99% of the people there are nervous in some way and are dying to be rescued by someone who shows even a vague interest in them. Even the seasoned networking professionals can still be secretly crying inside. I have been to a gajillion networking events and still can feel like the new kid at school and hope my Mum comes to pick me up and take me to Burger King. I asked some killer networkers their tips for jamming out with their clam out at these swanky affairs, here’s what they said.
1. Wear something cool and comfortable
There is nothing worse than picking out some smoking hot outfit to attend an event in and then realizing when you get there that the venue is hotter than Hell's waiting room and that beautiful satin top you’re wearing is showing every bead of sweat in a glorious way. You’re never going to want to approach people looking like you’ve just completed a triathlon. Make sure you wear something you’ve tested out before – it’s better to be a little chilly feeling versus a little creepy looking. Also, if you’re constantly having to yank your beautiful breasticles back into place or your fly has a knack of sliding down then avoid that outfit. Be as comfortable as you can while still looking fabulous, darling.
2. Write down something about the person on the back of their business card
When someone gives you their business card go ahead and write something down about them. It could be what you talked about or what they were wearing. Something useful that you can bring up in conversation with them in the future. Imagine emailing someone and saying “How was the BBQ’s for your partners Birthday?”, they’d be mighty impressed. Make sure you write something complimentary in case they spot you scribbling “Guy with wonky eyes”.
3. Give them something to remember you by
Whenever I meet people and I want them to remember my name I say “My name is Victoria, like the Queen”. I have a British accent and the Queen comment will help them remember that the British fox has the same name as a Queen. No one has ever called me Elizabeth by mistake! Alternatively you can tell them something cool about you. For example “Yeah, after this event I’m going to watch a Will Smith movie marathon with the members of my Will Smith fan club that I run”. Smooth.
4. Talk about the food
Starting up the conversation can be the hardest part. Lurking around the food station is a really good trick. People will ask you what things are, and you can offer advice on what’s tasty. “OMG, you HAVE to try the crab cakes, I ate 17 of them and it’s made my evening, in fact, grab a few more for me, I’m going to slip some in my purse. Don’t tell anyone!”.
5. Smile and be nice
Too scared to even talk to someone? I hear you girl! Sometimes you see mobs of people all chit chatting away in little circles. You swear they’re talking about you and sniggering about your sweat stained shirt. It’s fine for you to take a break from trying to wow everyone with your dazzling personality. Just stand on your own and soak in the environment and smile at people. You will be a beacon of light for the other people who don’t know who to talk to. If you’re walking around trying to pretend you’re looking for someone, no one is going to stop you and chat because you look busy. When you do get someone to talk to you, be genuinely interested. Listen to them and be excited about what they say. Reward their courage of coming to talk with some warm conversation.
6. Compliment people
You can approach someone and say “I just had to come up and tell you that I think your bow tie is marvelous! Where did you get it from? Is that shop the hub for local bow tie fans?”. People love talking about themselves and people love compliments. Magic formula! Be genuine though, don’t tell the dude in the wacky Simpsons tie that you think it’s achingly chic and want one yourself if you don’t.
7. Don’t drink too much
Sometimes there can be glasses of champagne flying around and with the nerves and wanting your hands to be busy you can knock back one too many. Don’t be that guy doing the David Brent dance to a group of new friends. Although, if you ask me, I’d love to see that.
8. Open up the circle
You start chatting to one person, then another joins in and you’ve got yourself a circle. You might be getting bored with the first 2 people so make sure you make room for other people to join the circle party. The more people in the circle the less awkward it is if you want to leave and the more likely there’ll be someone super interesting to talk to.
9. Touch people
Touch me, touch me, I wanna feel your body! Samantha Fox knew what she was talking about when it comes to networking. I know this sounds hella creepy, but if you can touch someones arm or shoulder when you’re talking it will build up trust and a whole gambit of other cool things. Try it out on people you know beforehand and get used to the power you now wield!
10. Don’t worry about it
Do you know these people? Does their opinion of you really matter in the grand scheme of things? Will you care about this when you’re dead. No. Who cares! If all else fails, just try to entertain yourself by telling people cheesy jokes.
Why’s the mushroom so happy? Because it’s a fun guy.