Day two is officially over! I can't believe Wednesday is already upon us and the convention is drawing to a close. It always goes so quick.
While Tuesday was fun, it was also exhausting. As an introvert, I find networking situations of all shapes and sizes to be both physically and mentally draining, so I was beat by the end of the day… but still I wanted to make the most of my time at the convention.
With the last full day of networking ahead of us, I wanted to share some networking-related tips that I've found helpful and have worked for me so far this week.
Don't try so hard.
In yesterday's recap (here) I gave the advice to “Be Yourself,” and I truly meant that. Networking functions are an opportunity for everyone in the room to meet other people, which means simply that you aren't the only person in the room looking to make new friends. You don't need to be armed with questions and hypothetical answers because the goal is to make connections and have good conversation. Don't overthink it and just be you.
Every networking event is set up differently, but most are designed to let people roam around, so don't just park it in one place and stay put. Connect with people in one area and then move on when you feel ready. Staying in one place - especially if you're sitting down - can give off a vibe of being anti-social or unapproachable, whereas moving around the room makes you more visible and can increase the number of people you're able to make new connections with.
Don't be afraid to start a conversation.
If you're reading this blog, chances are you're a pretty awesome person already, but the problem then is that people won't know how great you are unless you start a conversation! Going up to people and starting a conversation out of nothing can be intimidating, but you have to at least try. I made a new friend on Tuesday night simply by telling him that I liked his shirt, which then transformed into a great discussion about different panels we had each attended that day. See? Easy.
Know your limits.
If you are one of those people (like myself) that needs to charge or recharge your batteries with some alone time, don't be afraid to take it. In looking at the schedule for the week, I knew I really wanted to attend the Young CoSIDA event on Tuesday, so I planned accordingly and took Monday night for myself. I'm conscious of my limits and knew that if I spent a ton of time surrounded by people on Monday, I would have been mentally taxed and more likely to talk myself out of attending Tuesday's event, which I really wanted to attend. Knowing your limits is perfectly human, and by taking time to myself on Monday, I was able to focus my energy into being fully engaged and present on Tuesday.
Networking can be challenging for everyone, so keep that in mind. And if you don't know who to start a conversation with, just find Olivia or myself and we'll be sure to help you get started.
'Til next time. - KGH