Walking into a room full of strangers, your heart is beating fast, your hands are sweating, your mind is going blank.
If this happens to you when you enter a networking session, you’re not alone. However, networking still remains one of the most efficient way to meet new potential clients and let yourself be known. After all, if a client does not know of you and your services, how are they going to engage you?
But if you face problems with meeting people and shaking hands, Kevin Ou, world-renowned photographer and entrepreneur, has some top tips for you.
One advice he dishes out is to manage your expectations. Many of us have this image in our minds that we have to meet everyone in the room at any one networking event or that we’ll be closing a client. However, Kevin says, “ Don’t put pressure on yourself. Very often when you do, I think that’s when things go downhill very, very quickly.
Hear some of his other quick tips in the video here:
Amanda Blum, writer and brand storyteller has some other great takeaways. Being goal-oriented is one thing, but you’re not doing anyone any favours by torturing yourself at an event.
“The key thing is to enjoy yourself!” says Amanda. “It doesn’t have to be painful and stiff…. Look at it as making friends.” Especially if you are the type of person who dislikes marketing because you feel like you are constantly selling someone something and ‘blowing your own horn’, she advises you to rethink the concept of networking into something that you would actually have fun doing.
Check out her other tips in the video below.
They both advise, though, to absolutely follow up! No one’s giving out prizes for the most namecards collected. Drop the people you’ve met a message or an email, just to say hi and to make an impression. There is no need to solicit for business in every conversation.
Don’t worry if you don’t take to it immediately. Like most things in life, it takes (say it with me…) practice, practice, practice. However, the key thing is to, yes, practice! Go for more events and you might find you like some formats more than others. That’s perfectly fine. You’ll find your own pace when you get there. Here are some ideas on some events to attend if you want to get your feet wet: https://creativesatwork.asia/events/
Now take a deep breath and go meet some new friends.