Talk about a title.. 😂 #realtalk though, that is exactly what today's post is about. I chatted recently about how networking events and meeting new people sometimes scares the crap out of me and I know I'm not the only one! No matter your personality type, networking in-person is not all of our fortes and guess what, that's okay! Just because it might not be our favorite thing though doesn't mean we can't be successful at it.
I was faced head-on with that this weekend when I signed up to attend a meet-up Melyssa Griffin coordinated in NYC with local bloggers and biz owners. It's no secret that we LOVE Melyssa at Bold & Pop so there was no there was no way I was missing it, but part of me was so nervous to go. Sometimes our nerves can be irrational, but whether they make sense or not we still have to find out ways to deal with them. So, I put my big girl pants on (ok well actually snow boots because NYC got dumped on over the weekend) and off I went. And guess what guys... I didn't die and I had the BEST time! In fact, I hit it off so well, that a group of us connected and are planning on meeting up regularly in the city!
After I left the event, with a big ol' smile on my face and a handful of business cards of my new biz friends I laughed to myself that I had been nervous to go. Then I thought a step further and laughed because I guarantee none of the people I spoke to that day knew I had been nervous to go the few days before. In my opinion, I was outgoing, helpful, and sometimes even a little funny -- come on guys I can totally be funny! 😂 The point is.. outside perception can be a funny thing and you just never know what someone else is going through -- whether it's nervous about networking or something else and I want to bring attention to that! Beyond making your branding, websites and social accounts prettier, we're so dedicated to helping our community along their paths -- wherever that is. Key to doing that?! Talking about things! So here's a look at some tips that YOU TOO can be successful at in-person networking -- even if it's sometimes scary!
Look for Small Meet-ups & Networks
One of the things I think I loved about our meet-up was that it was a smaller group of probably 20-30 people. Large networking events can be so intimidating especially when it's already not really your thing. When you're seeking out events or groups to meet-up with, try and look for smaller groups where you share a similar interest. It was so easy to chat with everyone at this weekend's meet-up because we were all either bloggers or biz owners who followed Melyssa! Not seeing any established groups in your area? Don't be afraid to try and create your own. Take advantage of Facebook Groups to post about wanting to meet up with fellow goal chasers or to create accountability groups or masterminds. Going small makes the experience so much more personal and less intimidating to walk into a room of 5-15 people vs 100-200!
Look for Groups of 3
This tip is actually from one of the girls I met at the meet-up and it blew my mind. She suggested when you are at a networking event look for groups of 3 people. She made the best point that in groups of two, you often feel like you're interrupting if you hop into a convo, but when there's a group of 3 there is always one person who isn't talking making it ideal to hop in. This tip blew my mind because it's so simple but so smart! It's also a great thing to remember if you go to an event with someone else (which is part of my next point).
Go by Yourself
I can't believe I'm saying this... buttt if you're trying to make some valuable connections go by yourself! Ever go to a networking event with a friend and then only talk to your friend? Yep, I've been there. Well if you go with someone else with a similar personality to you then you might cut down on the chance of going out of your way to meet other people. Remember that rule of 3 people tip? Well, if you go with someone else and are talking to them throughout the night you may also be making yourself not look approachable. Now of course if it's a larger networking event or if your friend is the queen or king of meeting new people the rules may be a little different, but for smaller meet-ups I definitely suggest trying it solo.
How have you conquered your fears of in-person networking? We'd love to hear your tips in the comments section! 2017 goal... Learning to be successful at in-person networking for EVERYONE!