Guest post by Kat English:
With Social media and networking being part of your job search for finding that perfect career. You may find it hard to mingle at a network event – it’s even harder to break the ice and find solid leads and contacts.
So how do wilting wallflowers become successful social butterflies? We are here to give you a few tips.
The best networkers begin preparing long before the social event takes place by trying to find the guest list and identify key individuals they need to meet.
It would also help if you did some research on them and find out as much as possible about your key targets. You can take it as far as tracking down their pages on Facebook and Twitter and use their interests to break the ice.
So set yourself a target on how many people you want to meet. Also workout the dress code as first impression does count. If in doubt, phone the organisers or go slightly over-dressed.
While you may feel it be easier to walk into a crowded room, it is always better to arrive early before the tight-knit groups started to form as individuals are more likely to talk to each other. If the tight-knit groups have started to form, you may find it harder to break into conversations.
Many sales people turn up at networking events with a gaggle of colleagues, preferring to talk shop. Serious networkers, however, hunt alone rather than in packs.
You have to make yourself mingle, and with practice it becomes easier, however uncomfortable it feels standing by yourself in a room is even worse.
Don’t talk shop
Hard as it is for many networking professionals to turn off their commercial instincts, networking events aren’t occasions to recite their CV and could make people start disliking you. Instead talk to everyone. It’s about building relationships and establishing credibility, gaining contacts and making a name for yourself and not being a stranger.
Last but not least tip
That may help is to follow up with a phone call or an email to the people you meet at the social event. However difficult it is when you are following up via phone or email try not to make it sound like a sales pitch and never attend a social event without your business cards.