In addition to writing and marketing, I have also worked in entertainment and if there is one thing that I have learned in that experience, it is that networking is everything. Knowing people and collaborating with them not only gives you new opportunities, but it also lays the foundation for future followers.
However, not everyone understands the importance of networking or are too shy to follow through with conversation. That is why we are giving you a few tips on how you can improve your networking skills
1. “You know, sometimes all you need is 20 seconds of insane courage, just literally 20 seconds of embarrassing bravery, and I promise you something great will come of it.”-Benjamin Mee, “We Bought a Zoo”
When I met Elie Wiesel for the first time, it was because of 20 seconds of insane courage. The goes with meeting people like President Muhammad Nasheed of the Maldives and interviewing Piper Kerman, the author of the book “Orange is the New Black.” If you see someone that you admire or who you have always wanted to work with, 20 seconds is all you need to say “hello” and make a first impression. Don’t let those 20 seconds leaves you in the dust.
Bonus Tip: If you’re really nervous meeting new people, have a go-to friend that will help introduce you and make sure the conversation doesn’t die. Think of “How I Met Your Mother” and Barney’s favorite game “Have…You Met Ted.”
2. Speaking of First Impressions
Always be ready for a good first impression. If you were to see me out, working on these blog posts, you would see me in a nice outfit (normally a nice blouse, heels, and my Lucky Brand jeans that I swear by) with my hair and makeup done. You only ever get one shot at making a first impression and you never know when it might happen. It might be at a conference or it might be at Starbucks in the morning. Always be ready and waiting to make that next, crucial connection.
Bonus Tip: Invest in a conversation piece. With a simple outfit, they grab attention and can start conversations. Mine is a pair of saddle shoes that no one can believe I got from Payless.
3. “Let Me Give You My Card.”
There is nothing more important than making sure that you leave a conversation with a person’s card and they leave with yours. Invest in nice, eye-catching business cards that stand out amongst the 50 other cards people get at conferences. Also, don’t forget to send a quick “Nice Meeting You” email after big events to keep the conversation going.
Bonus Tip: Don’t be afraid to get creative. Horror filmmaker, Lynne Hansen, leaves “I Make Films Like a Girl” buttons at every film festival she attends. By the end of the festival, everyone knows her name.
4. Have to Go to Conversations Starts
Small talk sometimes is a good way to start a conversation, but are cliché and die off quickly. Prep some interesting topics in your field that will not only make you memorable but will also impress the other side of the conversation. If they think you know what you’re talking about, they will be more likely to come to you in a pinch.
Bonus Tip: Want to speak with the expert from that panel you loved? Don’t be afraid to wait on the edges after to speak one-on-one with them and ask in-depth questions about the topic. It shows your initiative.