The dreaded ‘Opportunities to Network’
See if this sounds familiar. You decide to go to a conference related to the industry you are currently in or the industry you are hoping to move into. You arrive in the door and are greeted by the thought that you, in fact, don’t know anyone here. So you quickly decide you need a strategy – a place to go and stand casually and nonchalantly. You spot the free coffee and pastries and that is as good a spot as any. Getting coffee and a cake takes all of 35 seconds. You are hoping and wishing that you don’t look as awkward as you feel and you are waiting for the first speaker to take to the stage.
The networking is not going well.
Following the first speaker you look at the program for the day and see those dreaded words – ‘opportunity to network’. It reads like it is going to be a performance of some description. It isn’t something that you perform, it isn’t swimming!
You do not need to be in a designated spot in appropriate attire to ‘network’. It’s just a conversation. But how do you strike up a conversation with a stranger, keep them engaged, display your value and then leave the conversation gracefully? It sounds like it might be a bit of a challenge. I can assure you it does not have to be as long as you understand some fundamentals about people. We cover these fundamentals and more in the Fast Track Business Success lesson 4.