Many of us have been in this situation, the day before you attend your first networking event ever. The uncertainty of the environment as well as your own anxiety quickly develops to falsely convince yourself of imminent failure. The simple fact is that no one is an expert in his or her first networking event. Expertise in this field requires experience, which will ultimately eliminate those senses of anxiety and uncertainty. Although it is impossible to be an expert initially, it is however, very possible to be prepared. So what does it take to be correctly prepared for such an event? Here are some simple ways to correctly prepare yourself for success in your first networking event:
Be aware of the attire recommended or required for the event.
There is nothing worse than showing up to a social gathering looking like a complete fool because you are either under or overdressed. To avoid this embarrassing situation, review the invitation, visit the event website, or contact the hosts to be sure that you will arrive to the event in a professional manner.
Make sure you have your business cards handy.
Through your preparations for the event, do not lose sight of the fact that you are not just trying to meet people, you are trying to keep in touch with these people outside the event. For the sake of future connections, make sure that you have plenty of business cards to provide the people you meet an easy way to connect with you.
Memorize how you are going to present yourself.
Develop a way that you can smoothly describe yourself or the company that you are endorsing so that people know you mean business. Prepare yourself how to answer certain questions that might be asked, as well as how you can break the ice to start up a conversation. You do no want to overwhelm the people with information that will lose their focus, so keep it simple and professional.
Relax! You’re going to do great!
Yes it is going to be awkward at first, but remember that you are not alone. It’s normal for most people to initially feel a bit uncomfortable at the event. It is important to also remember that these people all share at least one goal with you, the goal that they are looking for someone to talk with. So do not be afraid to approach someone for a conversation, because odds are that you are doing that person a favor by eliminating the awkwardness of standing alone.
Congratulations, you are now fully prepared to attend your first networking event! Now get out there and enjoy yourself.