Networking is essential to the trajectory of your career whether you’re an entrepreneur or have a 9 to 5. Unfortunately, many of us dread the tasks of going to networking events so we’re quick to grab a friend or two to go with us to take off some of the pressure. Well, I’ve recently made the discovery that attending networking events alone can be extremely beneficial. Below, I’ve highlighted a few tips for tackling networking by your lonesome.
Talk to Strangers
Contrary to what we were told as children, in this case talking to strangers can be a good thing. This is sort of the entire reason for attending a networking event, connecting with new people. When you attend networking events with friends, it’s easy to only talk to the people you came with the entire night and miss out on a connection that could change your life. Remember, your network is your net worth. Don’t use your friends as a crutch.
Have a Game Plan
Networking solo may not feel as overwhelming if you come with a plan. One thing I always try to do is research any panelists, speakers or special guests who will be attending the event ahead of time and I strategically plan who I want to connect with. I have an unwritten “rule of 3” where I commit to meeting at least three new people. Once I hit that goal, I usually have the confidence to connect with more people throughout the event.
Be Pitch Perfect
If you have not taken any time to practice your 30 second elevator pitch, you’re doing a major disservice to yourself. Be sure to prep and practice your pitch before you’re in front of a room of strangers. You should be able to tell someone in 30 seconds or less exactly what you do or what you’re hoping to get out of the event. Be intentional and specific.
Reach Out to Organizers
With social media, it’s easier than ever to connect with organizers of an event beforehand. If you don’t want to send a formal email, leave a comment on the organizers social media page that lets them know how excited you are to attend the event or who you’re looking forward to hear speak. Interacting with organizers and even attendees prior to the event can make attending a little less intimidating.
Networking can be nerve wracking and overwhelming especially for us on #TeamIntrovert, however, these events can be a great experience and lead to amazing opportunities that can change your life forever. You never know who’ll you end up in a room with. So smile, relax and show the room why you deserve to be there.
Do you have any tips for networking solo?