What gives networking experts the advantage?  Are they born with an extroverted personality and a love for talking business? Do they prepare for every forum they attend, or do they naturally enjoy meeting new people in new places? Yes, networking events are designed for enjoyment, but when social savants attend meetings, they stand out because they have done their homework. Every professional or casual meetup is a chance to expand your social skills, making Networking Austin’s weekly breakfast a great regular practice for networking novices.  If you are nervous or unsure about frequently attending social events, follow these three tips and you will be on your way to expert networking status.

Dell Women's Entrepreneur Network event - NYC

Research the space

Is your networking event held at a business location or banquet hall? Who is running the event and why? This requires more than getting the address of the building. Run an internet search for the organization and recent related events. This information will fill you in on dress code and any group customs for newcomers.  Showing your knowledge of the group, presenter, or the event’s history provides plenty to talk about with other attendees. Plus, with only a few Google searches you will arrive with questions and compliments ready to go for those hosting the event.

Networking Austin meetings are held in the spectacular Headliners Club on the 21st floor of the Chase Tower.  The club room for Austin’s historic Headliners is reserved every Thursday morning for Networking Austin members to enjoy breakfast, personal business connections, and a stunning view of the city.  Because the meeting is held at 7am, attendees are wearing their work clothes (if you are unsure what to wear, business casual is a safe bet.) Newcomers are only expected to pay a $20 guest fee and make a personal introduction to the group.  The chatty environment and breakfast buffet makes this a non-intimidating environment to practice your social skills.

Be Attentive

For those new to networking environments, your best bet is to show up a little earlier than the rest of the crowd.  This will ensure you are immediately communicating one-on-one as the attendees start to arrive.  At Networking Austin you will be given your seating assignment when you check into the room. Do not be tempted to run to your table.  Instead, grab a cup of coffee and stand near the entrance or other high traffic areas- this will let guests know you are ready to network.

While talking with event goers, be mindful of others that you could invite to join your conversation.  Having a chat and see someone beside your group’s ears perk up? This would be a wonderful time to invite that person into the conversation. At larger networking events and more formal forums, it is important to make sure your message is clear and you have received all important information from the people you meet in case you do not see them again. So keep in mind that smaller, regular meetings give attendees the advantage of building real relationships beyond formal introductions.

Pitch Yourself

Professional events are an opportunity to explain to others how you can help them and to find out how they can help you.  It is always in your best interest to show up knowing your business’s top selling points. Networking Austin is proud to be a facilitator of  genuine and trustworthy connections between professionals of multiple industries because it is not an environment that stresses immediate lead exchanges.  When you are here, you are with friends. So as you make your formal introduction to the group, promote yourself and your business like you are talking with friends.  You know why your company or profession is important, so let the room know how you can benefit them.

You cannot become an extroverted networking superstar overnight.  It takes practice, research, and effort to benefit from professional events.  But luckily, with regular meetings, like Networking Austin’s Thursday morning breakfast, members will see an increase in their confidence in just a few weeks.

Image Source: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Women_in_the_workforce

Original Source: https://www.networkingaustin.com/beginning-tips/are-you-ready-to-network-3-tips-for-networking-novices

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