• How to survive a networking event

    Hello. My name is….

    I don’t go to many networking events, so when I was invited to a networking lunch with a client I looked to the internet for support and encouragement.  Googling ‘networking icebreakers’ led me to some cringey (and borderline inappropriate) conversation openers so here’s my take on the whole affair, let’s learn this together!

    • Don’t eat (and if you don’t eat, also don’t drink wine)

    If the event is serving food my advice is to eat beforehand. You’re there to meet people and give a good impression, not fill your face.

    If you’re not convinced then this lunchtime eat your lunch with one hand, while also holding a drink, standing up, and constantly either talk or smile. Don’t forget to keep one hand free to shake hands too! Ha. Still not convinced? Do it in front of a mirror.

    • We’re British

    This sounds like an excuse doesn’t it but I think it’s important to note that we are British people and even the most extrovert among us find this type of social/business setting a tad uncomfortable. Acknowledging this to each other could be a good icebreaker!

    • Read name badges before talking to the person

    This isn’t very easy but it’s a lot easier than surreptitiously glancing down while talking and listening and maintaining eye contact. If you miss their name tell them or use the excuse of exchanging business cards ‘I’ve really enjoyed our chat – let’s exchange cards’.

    • Plan

    It helps me if I read the attendee list first and check people out on LinkedIn. Sometimes you remember faces which is a good start, and sometimes they will have things in their profile that you can use as openers – even if it’s a mutual connection.

    • Ask the host for help

    Don’t be apologetic about the reason we’re all there. We want to meet people to grow our businesses! If there’s someone there that you really want to meet, ask the host to introduce you.

    • Help each other

    See someone wandering around not talking to anyone – help them! Ask if they are looking for anyone in particular – you might be able to make the introduction.
    Comments and other tips gratefully received – email me or comment below, we’re all in this together!