Stop Making Networking Awkward | Follow This Step-by-Step Guide and Build Your Dream Network Today

Networking is creating your own personal web of connections. It involves mingling with like-minded individuals who share the same professional interests or industry as you. By networking, you can share ideas, information, and even find opportunities to grow both personally and professionally. Attending events is one of the best ways to expand your network of contacts. However, if you’re new to the world of conferences, parties, and other events, it’s understandable to feel a little uneasy. However, with a little help from modern etiquette, you’ll be networking like a pro in no time. So, let’s dive in and learn how to make the most of your networking experiences.

How to Enter a Group of Strangers

Don’t you just hate it when you’re at a social gathering and you want to join a group, but you’re not sure how to introduce yourself? Here are some tips to help you make a great first impression and get the conversation flowing:

First things first, take a quick scan of the group you want to join. Are they all facing each other with intense eye contact, like they’re about to hatch a secret plan? If so, they might not be ready to welcome a new member just yet. But if they’re more laid back, with some members facing out towards the room, it’s probably safe to make your move.

Now, this is the part where you might feel a bit nervous, but trust me – confidence is key! Walk up to the group and introduce yourself with a friendly smile. Keep it simple and to the point: “Hey there, my name is Alica, and I don’t know anyone here yet. Just wanted to say hello and introduce myself!”

If the group doesn’t respond warmly or seems unfriendly, don’t sweat it. Some people just haven’t mastered the art of modern etiquette yet. Politely excuse yourself and move on to the next group. You don’t want to waste your time with people who don’t appreciate your sparkling personality anyway!

Meaningful Conversation is Key

Let’s get the golden rule out of the way: ask questions and listen to the answers. If you only talk about yourself and don’t show an interest in the other person, they’ll quickly realize that you’re not worth their time. Sorry, not sorry.

Now, what topics should you talk about? Stick to safe ground and ask about their hobbies, and interests. Unless you know them really well, avoid sensitive topics like religion, politics, or anything personal. Otherwise, you might just end up offending them.

Oh, and one more thing – don’t interrupt, criticize, judge, or dominate the conversation. Nobody likes a know-it-all. By showing genuine interest, asking questions, and listening attentively, you’ll create a positive impression and build meaningful connections. And who knows, maybe you’ll even learn something new!

How to Gracefully End a Conversation

Let’s face it, not every conversation can be a winner. Sometimes you might find yourself stuck in a boring exchange with someone who is clearly not interested in talking to you. So how do you politely end the conversation without causing offense or burning bridges?

Firstly, keep an eye out for the signs. If your conversation partner is looking at their watch, fidgeting, or avoiding eye contact, it’s probably time to wrap things up. And if they’re not asking you any questions or engaging in the conversation, it’s a clear sign that it’s time to move on.

But how do you do it? The key is to end on a positive note. Smile, thank them for their time, and offer a reason for ending the conversation that is both genuine and polite.

For example, you could say, “It was really great talking to you about app development, but I need to catch up with a colleague who just arrived.”

If your conversation partner insists on following you to the restroom or bar, it’s time to be more assertive. Politely explain that you need to find a friend or take care of something else, but that you look forward to seeing them again soon at another event.

We should follow the following order:

  1. Clearly end the conversation,
  2. Give a reason,
  3. Say that we will see each other again. Again, we should never burn bridges or be discourteous to anyone.

Always Give Before You Take

So, you’ve just met someone at a networking event and hit it off. But what’s next? How do you stay in touch with this new-found acquaintance without coming off as a needy, clingy person? 

First and foremost, before you start bombarding them with messages, remind them of what you talked about at the event. You don’t want them to forget who you are, after all. Don’t be that person who just adds them on LinkedIn and sends a generic “Nice meeting you” message. Bo-ring.

If you really want to make an impression, take note of their interests and hobbies during the conversation. Maybe they mentioned they’re into hiking, or they’re a huge fan of the latest Netflix show. Use that to your advantage and send them an article or a recommendation related to that topic. They’ll appreciate the effort and remember you for it.

Now, here’s the most important tip – always give before taking. Yes, you’re there to network and potentially gain something out of it. But remember, they’re human too. Start by being helpful to your community first and seek help from others only when you really need it. Don’t just be that person who only reaches out when they want something.

Think about how you can help this person, whether it’s connecting them with a potential business partner or recommending them for a job opportunity. Trust me, people will remember you for being helpful and it will strengthen your relationship with them.

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