Yesterday, one of my best friends and I attended Cocktails and Conversations by Frost Bank at The Network Bar. I love attending networking events. It gives me the opportunity to meet new people and make new connections that may help me professionally in the future and has even blessed me new friends. This was a great event. I’ve been wanting to visit The Network Bar forever! The food was amazing, drinks didn’t disappoint, conversation and connections were created…I call that success. But I realized that networking may not be as easy for everyone else as it is for me. I can get an email right now about an event tonight and I’m there! I want everyone to feel that way so I’ve come up with 3 simple keys to networking.
1. Show up You can’t put yourself out there for the world to know if they don’t see your face and get to know your brand. Finding events aren’t hard you just have to look. I post events weekly on IG, there is Eventbrite, Facebook, local online publications and word of mouth. You just have to look. Don't be closed off. Body language is very important. Give off welcoming energy that makes people want to approach you(saves you from having you approach them...win!)
2. Be able to quickly and adequately introduce yourself and your brand Who are you? What do you do? What makes you special? Make them ask follow-up questions. This means they have taken an interest in you. Be sure to get the same info from the person you’re talking to. I was able to connect with someone from a nonprofit that has made exceptional changes in my old neighborhood and get a vendor for an event I’m assisting. We all know the saying, “a closed mouth don’t get fed”.
3. Work the room Talk to as many people as you can. Have those business cards ready. You never know who will be that connections you’ve been waiting for. Shake hands, smile, and converse. You’re not going to be able to talk to everyone at every event you go to but in a lot of areas familiar faces pop up, and that person you never seem to get to may find their way to you.
Networking is only scary if you make it that way. The more you do it the easier it gets. Follow these steps and you’ll be set.