We all have our stereotypes of what makes networking awful.
The creepy guy in the bad suit trying to get your business card (& you might not even have one yet). The lady who won’t. Stop. Talking. Or worse, feeling like you’re the only one with nothing to say…
It doesn’t have to be like that. In fact, one of the first things you’ll learn in the eBook is that networking is just talking to people about interesting things.
But when you need to start at the basics, like getting a business card to begin with? It can really be tough.
So, here are networking basics for newbies who also aren’t robots. That means you sometimes don’t feel like talking to strangers, or when you do, you aren’t quite sure what to say.
Go Ahead and Get A Business Card
If you know what kind of job you want, use some of those keywords on your card, like “Education Consultant,” or “Freelance Writer”.
If you aren’t sure what you want to do — that’s fine! Include a few of your interests or specialties, or just don’t include a title at all. It’s just a calling card so that those interested can get in touch with you.
Business cards from a design sites like Tiny Prints are always classier, but there’s no shame in hitting up VistaPrint for a free (yes, free! Just pay shipping) business card. Find a basic layout, and include your name, email address, website (You do have a website, right? If not, contact me through my site and I can build you one at a discount), and phone number.
Make Sure You’re Groomed & Wearing Clean Clothes
You don’t have to deck out in a ball gown or a tux. Most networking events take place after work, so workplace attire (khakis and a tie, a skirt and a nice sweater) are all classy and fine.
Just be clean, well groomed, and put on a fresh layer of deodorant. (Yeah, I said that… be kind to everyone at the event!).
Do What You Can to Have a Relaxed Attitude
Easier said than done, for sure! But the key to networking successfully is to relax and be yourself. You don’t have to have an elevator pitch (though it helps, and we’ll cover that next time). You just have to have a sense of humor and a natural curiosity in the people you meet.
The ultimate key to relaxing? Understand that every networking event you attend will help you in some way. You might not perform the way you want, you might not make amazing connections and get hired. But every moment you spend at a networking event, you’re learning more about yourself, about the industry, and about the kind of people you’re interested in. So, relax and have a good time!
Now you’re ready! Tune in next time, for tips for the actual event: how to find networking events, how to feel comfortable while you’re there, and how to get the most out of it.
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