Attending a business conference is an excellent opportunity to meet other professionals working in your same field. The connections made at one of these events can turn into future business prospects.
But because networking is difficult, it can cause social anxiety symptoms in even the most seasoned business professional.
The following are a few tips and ideas on how to help you successfully overcome some of the nervousness involved with networking –
1~ Dress for Success. Wear your most professional business attire, giving you a confidence boost. You will feel much more comfortable meeting new people when you know that you look your best. Pick out your outfit beforehand, taking some stress out of the morning of the event.
2~ Plan Ahead. Before you leave, spend some time coming up with some possible introductions that you can use and prepare answers to possible questions that you may be asked. If you know certain people that will be attending the conference, make a mental list of those individuals that you would like to connect with.
3~ Approach Others. If your nerves take over when you first arrive to the conference, try building your self esteem by approaching someone that is standing alone. This is a great opportunity to engage with someone new, while getting you into the swing of things.
4~ You’re Not Alone. If approaching others makes you nervous, try to remember that you are not alone. Most people feel awkward talking to new people at first too. In fact most of the conference attendees are in the same boat – simply looking for someone to connect with and share a conversation.
5~ Pay Attention. Be sure to pay attention and listen intently to those that you talk with. People love when you remember their name, and seem to connect better with those that give eye contact and smile.
6~ Ask Questions. Remember to not only talk about yourself and why you’re there. Instead ask questions to those you meet, helping to learn more about their business. You never know where each connection could lead you, so making a good impression is vital.
While feeling completely comfortable in a difficult situation may be hard to accomplish, with some advance planning, it’s not impossible and will help you succeed at your next networking event.