You’re not always going to be stuck to a 9 to 5 shift at work. There will be times when you’d be expected to go out there and do things that were out of your comfort zone. Yes, the thought of it could be daunting, especially if you’re an introvert or are just an awkward 20-something-year-old. But think of this as a learning opportunity and not something to shy away from. After all, when you’ve worked so hard on your personality development all through college, why not let that personality shine beyond just your office walls?

Here are a few tips to make networking feel like just another conversation, but more fruitful, at social events.
 

Start a conversation like you would any other

Start a conversation like you would any other

Networking doesn’t necessarily have to come with the pressure that it comes with. Easy conversations starters—asking if they’ve watched the latest trailer of Game of Thrones or their thoughts on a trending topic—work pretty well too. This may sound cliché, but it’s the easiest way to get people to warm up for conversations.

 

Always have a purpose and be prepared

Always have a purpose and be prepared

Nothing is more awkward, at a networking event at least, than nailing the conversation starter but failing to carry the conversation forward. Do your research on who’s attending and prep yourself accordingly. Don’t come off as someone you’re not in an attempt to sound smarter—people have a radar for the fakes. While spontaneity works best, a little practise in front of the mirror, wouldn’t hurt.

 

Talking in person doesn’t mean you’re shy

Talking in person doesn’t mean you’re shy

Networking doesn’t always mean you have to interact with large crowds of people. Talking to someone in person, one-on-one, doesn’t hurt either. Especially if you’re an introvert. This will only help you express yourself freely, minus the pressure of other bystanders looking and judging, while you attempt to make conversation. Also helps you gain undivided attention from the person while you vibe with them.

 

Did you know you could bring your own wingman?

Did you know you could bring your own wingman?

Yes, this one’s your friend (with nothing to lose) who shall do the initial talking for you to break the ice. This helps as it gives you time to prep before you’re ready to weigh in where it matters—without having to small talk. Also comes with an added perk of sounding important as you wouldn’t just be jibber jabber anymore, you’d be talking business.

 

Sign it off and stalk them up (healthily)

Sign it off and stalk them up (healthily)

Always carry a business card—non debatable, non excusable. While your first impression is what counts, this is the impression that lasts. And if you’re a newb, you’d naturally be expected to put in extra effort to stand out from the already established lot in front of you. So make it count. Later…LinkedIn is the way!