Adrenaline rush, anxiousness, nausea, dry throat, sweaty hands , check.
If you’re feeling this way, I’m going to venture to guess you’re attending a business networking event (or speaking at one). It’s also likely that you don’t know a single person in the room and you are standing in the corner hoping and praying that someone will take pity on you and strike up a conversation.
But it doesn’t have to be that way.
Attending a professional networking event with a little strategy can go a long way.
You can learn to network with confidence without morphing into one of those people that immediately pitch their business and shove their business card in your face. “Ick!”
Here are a few tips and icebreakers to ease your nerves before your next professional networking event:
1. Get interested.
Ask, “What brought you here today?”
This is a great question to ask to break the ice and learn a about fellow attendees and their event goals. This also gives your new contact an opportunity to do a little “business bragging” of their own, while you listen intently.
2. Be authentic.
Go “au naturale,” so to speak.
Stumped for something to say? Most likely you’re not the only one. Walk up to someone and introduce yourself. Then tell people it’s your first time attending the event (if that’s the case) and you don’t know anyone. People connect with authenticity.