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If you’re like many business professionals these days, you have lots of business socials and networking opportunities on your schedule.

However, during the pandemic, your networking skills maybe got a bit rusty. If you’re feeling uncomfortable and lacking confidence when attending these events again, I have your back! ✅Below are my 9 networking tips for anyone—including introverts! These do’s and don’ts will get you on the road to greater confidence and you’ll actually enjoy the event.

9 networking tips for anyone, including introvertsAbove all…

  1. Do—Show up to the event. According to comedian and actor, Woody Allen, 80% of success is just showing up! Don’t talk yourself out of going because it’s been a long day and you just don’t feel like attending.
  2. Do—Arrive early.

    Here’s why. It’s less intimidating to walk into a room full of people when it’s less crowded.

  3. Don’t—Go straight to the food and beverage area.

    Your purpose in attending is to build and strengthen business relationships. So, when you walk in the door, step to the side and pause. Glance around the room to see who is there that you might want to say hello to or visit with.

  4. Do—Introduce yourself to 1-3 new people and have a few moments of meaningful conversation.

    For example, make eye contact with the person, approach him/her, extend your hand and introduce yourself. The more you do this the easier it gets because this is a learned skill.

  5. Do—Show interest in others and don’t just talk about yourself. 

    Conversation skills matter. A foolproof way to show interest in others is to ask open-ended questions. For example, questions that begin with who, what, when, where, how and why. As an example: “How did you get into that line of work?” If you’re at a conference, “What breakout sessions do you plan to attend?” You get the idea. Also, be a good listener so you can make comments or ask additional questions to keep the conversation going. Usually the other person will be courteous and eventually ask about you.

  6. Do—Use positive body language.

    When standing with several others, use the open V posture so others feel they can join you. Incidentally, avoid folding your arms across your chest or folding them fig-leaf fashion. This makes you appear closed off and lacking confidence.

  7. Don’t—Hand out your business card until the end of the conversation.

    After you’ve had a few minutes of conversation and you’re ready to exit the conversation, you may ask to exchange cards. However, never give your card without permission. As a rule, the protocol is that the person of higher precedence is the one to initiate the card exchange.

  8. Do – Eat and drink with moderation.

    It’s absolutely fine to enjoy the food and drinks after having some time to meet and greet others. However, if you drink alcoholic beverages, switch to something non-alcoholic after one or two drinks. And keep your food and beverage in your left hand so your right hand is always free for a handshake.

And lastly…

  1. Do—Dress for Success.

    Remember, image is everything! Therefore, you want to look your professional best. That means when your outer appearance gives a good first impression, it affects people’s perception about you. And people will automatically assume you also possess other qualities, talents, skills and abilities that are good.

In summary, clearly these 9 networking tips are for anyone—including introverts! They’re easily doable and become second nature the more you practice them.

You may also like to read:  “The Business Meet & Greet: how to make small talk again”

Rachel Wagner is a licensed business etiquette consultant, trainer, and speaker. She is the owner of the Oklahoma-based business etiquette firm Rachel Wagner Etiquette and Protocol. 
Rachel provides onsite and LIVE virtual training on business and dining etiquette topics. She has corporate clients from many industries around the country. As an etiquette expert, she is interviewed and quoted in a variety of local and national media outlets. These include The Washington Post, MONEY, Forbes, and many more. She is also credentialed as a Virtual Event Professional and Zoom Producer.

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