Picture this: You just walked into a professional networking event at a co-working space in Mumbai and . . . you have absolutely no idea what to do next. By the time, you walk out the door, all you want to do is crawl into your bed and hope everyone forgets you exist. Sound familiar? Don’t worry, it happens to the best of us. That feeling you get when you know you have to walk into a room full of strangers, talk to them (WHAT) while simultaneously hoping the earth opens up and swallows you whole? We’ve had that, too.
Frankly, these events are pretty much terrible for most people. Because no amount of practice and confidence is going to help when you are on a mission to hand out as many business cards as possible while shooting out fake laughs and false compliments.
If you’re as tired of these routines as we are, then you’ve come to the right place. Here, we present to you a few tips that will help you rock the next networking event you attend in your coworking space:
- Be Subtle.
Have you stepped foot into a networking event only to be bombarded by a man, let’s call him Akshay, who has his arm in a permanent extended position, handing out business cards like they’re cheap candy? Listening to Akshay’s continuous babble about his “unbelievably unique venture that is definitely going to be the next big thing” is like listening to Rebecca Black sing about getting down on a Friday; except the first one has no “OFF” button. Don’t be like Akshay. Being overenthusiastic and arrogant about your proposition won’t lead to attracting potential clients or partnerships, only people wishing they could throw their drinks in your face. Subtlety is the key, folks!
- Use Body Language.
Head- tilt it up! For centuries, folks have been attracting people of interest through the famous “head tilt”. Charles Darwin was the first researcher to note that tilting of the head – in humans and animals – generally depicts interest or curiosity. Over the course of the years, the head tilt has become a universal sign that allows people to interpret that you are avidly listening to them and are extremely interested in what they are talking about. Everybody loves a great listener! Business Insider recently quoted, “Body Language is half of Business Communication.” Body language can work wonders when you wish to build long-lasting connections and partnerships at such events. So, next time, use that tilt to charm people and score some brownie points.
- Less Work, More Play
You may be there to discuss serious business but no one likes a boring, stuffy and an entirely unfunny conversation. Be spontaneous, go prepped with killer conversation starters and make people laugh with your wisecracks. A conversation is always more memorable if it involves a few jokes. Also, don’t be afraid to get personal! Studies prove that a business relationship that starts with a friendship has a stronger foundation.
- Dress to Impress.
Renowned psychologists and image consultants always say one thing: First impressions are 55% based on your clothing, appearance and body language, 38% on the tone of your voice and only 7% is based on the words that are spoken. This proves that it is extremely important to be well-dressed and adorning professional attire when you are actively trying to build your network because it has a huge impact on your image. Shabby and untidy clothes lead to a similar attitude. When you look good, you exude confidence.
- Follow up.
After the event is over, your actual job begins. Always remember to follow up with each person that you wish to build a professional relationship with. Ensure that each email is personalised, preferably reflecting back on a point from your conversation. No matter how much you rocked your networking event, if you fail in following up with each contact you acquired, it will end up being a waste of your time and resources.
Coworking spaces work wonderfully if you need to learn how to perform well in networking events. Work with new people every day, get to know them and best of all, start and build your very own networks!