This post was originally published on Third Sector Today and is being posted here with permission.
You curled your hair and put on your patent leather shoes. You even put on lipstick without your mom’s permission. You are ready for your first junior high dance. Will you ask Bobby to slow dance or stand near the wall with friends? Will you go near the chip bowl, or do you not want to run into Mr. Smead, the algebra teacher/chaperone? This dance was supposed to be fun, but it is turning into one awkward night.
Do you notice any similarities to a networking event? Have you ever hoped to become a better networker than when you were in junior high?
Regardless of your feelings about networking events, they do exist for some beneficial reasons. Strategic Business Networking mentions that increasing your visibility and making relationships that can lead to partnerships and positive references down the line are two top reasons. Certainly, you can network online, but human contact, which includes a solid handshake, give-and-take dialogue with visual cues, and live energy, offers invaluable merit.
Once you have preached the mantra that “Networking will work for me,” consider the following five tips to become a better networker:
Junior high may be over, but many phobias still ring true. However, unlike the dance, which probably just impacted your three years in junior high, a networking event could benefit your career, which is the rest of your life. So, put on that lipstick (mom does not care anymore!), and have fun talking about what you love to do for a living.