For someone, the industry of networking events is an opportunity to show off, or to get new customers or partners, or relax. For others, such events are uncomfortable and obligatory. If the last option is yours, most likely, you are an introvert, a person who is burdened by large crowds of people and does not get any pleasure from communicating with strangers.
How to find beneficial new connections without losing yourself and to make industry events more productive for your career?
To begin with, deal with the fact that you want not just to unwind or leave your comfort zone, you have particular professional goals. Do you want to contact at least three potential customers? Find potential investors for your project? New job?
And, perhaps, in a casual conversation to remind the bosses that your experience has long exceeded your authority? Define the goal. Otherwise, you will certainly not be satisfied!
Now it's up to the tactics. Be selective in choosing an event. After all, when you have a specific task, you can sensibly assess what kind of acquaintances can help you achieve it. And therefore, in what places do these people are.
The main principle of selecting professional networking events is very similar to one of the basic principles of marketing. Define the target audience correctly and understand what message you want to convey to it.
There is no point in thoughtlessly squandering your already modest energy with unsystematic adventures from event to event. Especially when large crowds of people are more likely to disbalance you than charge with energy.
Now that you have identified the target audience and figured out where to find it work on the message. In all seriousness, prepare a short description of what you do and what your current professional goals are. What exactly are you looking for, and what can you offer in return?
Think that you should be prepared no worse, or even better, than before an interview with a recruiter. After all, the specialist at the interview is at least interested in listening to you, but you will have to first arrange and gain their attention to new interlocutors at the event.
How to win over people? First of all, do not try to pose as an extrovert, play on your field, use your trump cards. Be the very person who is interested in others, and others will be interested in you with a high probability.
You can't imagine what an advantage you have over people who are used to talking a lot. Indeed, introverts often possess a rare ability to listen with genuine interest. The strategy of an active listener will not only distinguish you favorably from the crowd but will also attract to you most effectively.
Now is the time to smoothly transfer the conversation into a professional field. Talk about your business and goals, but do not forget to carefully monitor the reaction of the interlocutor, be flexible, include in the conversation, interested in his opinion, asking counter questions about interests. And when the acquaintance is tied up, do not forget to exchange contacts, and perhaps, to create an occasion to continue communication.
It makes no sense to try to enjoy a process that does not seem attractive to you. Admit to yourself that you will have to make an effort on yourself. And take a trip to an industry event as a business task. Divide it into stages and step by step, overcome each of them, not forgetting to encourage yourself for each advance internally. Set yourself real, quantifiable goals, develop a strategy, act, and do not forget to evaluate the completion of the task at the end, analyze and identify areas that need improvement. So gradually, you can feel the real excitement when it starts to work out for you!