Most of us are expected to network a handful of times in our professional and personal lives. Whether you’ve recently moved to a new city or you’re gunning for a new role at work, networking is a part of life. And as much as networking freaks many of us out, it’s a necessary way to shake up your routine and get out of your comfort zone.
In honour of attending iD Fashion Week next week, I thought I would revisit my favourite networking advice and share my own tips with you.
Go solo. Admittedly attending events with a friend is less daunting than flying solo, but you won’t cover nearly as much ground. You’ll also be tempted to spend the time catching up instead of meeting new people. Going alone, you’ll be more engaged and more likely to make a new contact or two.
Dress the part. First impressions are crucial in networking situations. Assess the invite or press release prior to getting dressed. Is it a corporate or fashion event? Is it indoors or outdoors? Put your best foot forward by choosing an outfit that fits well. And if you’re attending a foodie event, be sure to wear comfortable pants (elastic waistbands, anyone?)
Confidence is key. This goes hand-in-hand with my last point. You may be perspiring in your pumps, but don’t let it show. A simple smile coupled with a strong handshake goes a long way. And remember, everyone else is just as nervous as you.
Business cards. You’ll be talking to a lot of new people, so arm yourself with business cards. You never know if your newest client is right around the corner!
Be interested. While many of us worry about being interesting, it’s more important to be interested, particularly in networking scenarios. Ask engaging questions, smile and be attentive.
Put your phone down. This is a hard one, especially at blogger events where capturing the moment is required. Don’t make the mistake of being attached to your phone all night. Look up, smile at new faces, and be the first to introduce yourself.