The thought of being stuck in a room full of people you don’t know for the sake of networking can reduce even the most sociable of us to quivering piles of nerves. Walking up to a complete stranger and trying to start a conversation with them is awkward if nothing else. It’s important to know how to approach people and communicate with them in a way that feels natural.
However, career success is hardly a matter of sitting quietly at your desk every day. In the PR industry, as with many other sectors, building contacts is key. Through our work with the meetings & events sector in particular, we’ve found that there is no substitute for meeting people face to face in order to foster valuable working relationships.
It may seem like effective networking involves time, hard work, and having to deal with the anxiety and fear commonly associated with it, but you should get results if you follow some simple strategies.
Just what is the best way to go about this? Rather than reaching for the weather as a traditional opening gambit when meeting someone new, how about kicking off conversation with one of these….?
- Use the event as a prompt. That was a great presentation, what do you think?
- Just the job. What do you do? How long have you been in that profession?
- It doesn’t have to be all work, work, work. What are your hobbies?
- Hot off the press. Try topical events. Did you watch much of Team GB at the Olympics?
- Failing any of the above, try flattery! Where did you get that fabulous purse / great tie / cool laptop?
Over to you. What’s your best ice breaker? Get in touch and let us know!