3 Ways to Start a Conversation at a Networking Event

marketing-man-person-communicationFor most people, networking events can be extremely intimidating. As a career coach, the most common question I get about networking is, “How do I start a conversation?”

Here are 3 things you can say in order to start a conversation at a networking event:

    1. If there is someone you have been meaning to meet for a long time and never had a proper introduction. Here’s the BEST way to introduce yourself.I don’t believe we’ve ever met before. I’m (insert your name).
    2. If you are near the food line, an exhibitor’s table or by a sign, ask a question to start the conversation. Doesn’t that look delicious? Have you read any of her books? Which breakout session are you attending?
    3. If you prefer to be less direct, you can simply ask, “Hi. Do you mind if I introduce myself?” Most people will respond, “No, not at all. I’m…”

And if you want support in building your networking skills, join me for a free networking workshop ‘The ABC’s of networking so you can start connecting with confidence & conviction’ on Thursday, January 14th from 7-8:30 PM in Denver or Friday, January 15th from 10-11 AM online. To register, click here.

How to Overcome Impostor Syndrome While Networking

Many times I hear from clients that they feel they are faking it when going to networking events. I get it!

When I first started my business, I felt like an impostor. I still was trying to get my processes and systems in place and I didn’t have the confidence that everything was going to work out. I would meet people and feel I had to pretend that I was already successful and this didn’t feel good.

So what is impostor syndrome? It’s a term that was coined in the 1970’s by psychologists to describe people who are unable to internalize their accomplishments.

As a career changer, you may not feel good enough to warrant someone helping you with your transition. The good news? You have the ability to over come it!

Here’s how:

1. Own Your Greatness– Even though I didn’t have all my ducks in a row, I had to remind myself that I had so much to offer. Even though I was new to private practice, I still had experience in career development and helped many others before. When I would remind myself of all my strengths and accomplishments prior to going to a networking event, my body language subconsciously communicate my confidence.

You may not have direct experience in certain areas when making a career change, but you certainly have a ton to offer such as your personality, strengths, accomplishments, talents and transferable skills. Own them!

2. A.S.K. or Always Seek the Knowledge of Others- My friend Alyce Blum, business owner and networking coach, suggests that you should enter networking situations with the intention to get to know others and ask questions.

I love this advice because most people don’t care about what you do, they care about how you make the feel- asking questions is one of the best ways to do this. It also takes away the pressure for you to feel like you have to show off.

So next time you go to a networking event, know that you have the power to turn the conversation around and ask someone about their job.

3. Practice Til You Make It– I hate the saying, “Fake it til you make it”. For me, it means that I feel I have to be fake or inauthentic until I make some obscure goal. I like the idea of practicing because it allows for authenticity, vulnerability and mistakes in the moment.

I had to practice in several different ways to help me overcome my impostor syndrome. I had to test my process and systems on several people at no cost in order to have success stories under my belt. For me, sharing stories in which I honestly felt good about my work helped me feel confident and authentic without being cocky.

So next time you go to a networking event, look at it as practice whether it be your elevator pitch, how you answer questions, posture, body language and anything else you can think of.

If you’re feeling impostor syndrome coming on, take a moment to own your greatness, turn the conversation around and ask someone about themselves and know that this is practice, not perfection.

And if you want support in overcoming your impostor syndrome while networking, join us for a free networking workshop ‘The ABC’s of networking so you can start connecting with confidence & conviction’ on Thursday, January 14th from 7-8:30 PM in Denver or Friday, January 15th from 10-11 AM online. To register, click here.