If you find that you’re lacking confidence in your career, it’s time to take action to improve yourself. Confidence is easily the most important tool at your disposal when it comes to your professional life. One of the best ways to build your confidence is to take action. Not at work, where you’re probably pretty comfortable, but at a networking event, which calls on you to exercise your social skills.
Find local groups with LinkedIn or through your workplace.
There are lots of local networking and professional groups available to join. Many have monthly or even weekly events, so finding something that fits into your schedule is usually pretty easy. To break some of the tension, network online with some of the group members before your first meeting. That way you won’t be a total stranger when you arrive.
Be aware of your body language.
Your posture says volumes about your attitude. To appear confident, you need to stand up straight with squared shoulders, an open chest, and your head held high. When you interact with people, make eye contact and don’t make frantic hand gestures. Keep in mind that obsessively checking your smart phone will make it difficult to do almost all of these things. Put it away and focus on building your network!
Break the ice.
Lots of people feel uncomfortable at networking events. If you have some ice breaker questions in mind, you can make things easier for yourself and for the people you interact with. You don’t have to ask anything too crazy. Often keeping it simple is the best way to build relationships. Bring up a recent event that has to do with your career field, or ask about someone’s name or the company they work for.
Don’t make it about yourself.
Networking isn’t about improving your position, it’s about building relationships that are mutually beneficial. Focusing solely on your skills and yourself is a huge turnoff at a networking event. Instead of trying your elevator pitch on everyone in the room, instead make sure to listen as much as you talk. You may be able to help someone make a connection that will do great things for their
Sharing interesting content makes you interesting.
Keep up to date with the latest trends and news in your industry. Not every conversation at a networking event needs to be centered around business, but it can help open a broader, more personal conversation. You can engage a large group of people with an interesting story, because everyone loves to share their own unique perspective.
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