Here are my 6 tips to take full advantage if you’re heading out alone:
We’ve all been there. There is an event coming up that would be great to attend, whether you are looking to network, attract potential business, support a client or partner, or explore new opportunities.
If you’re flying solo here are some things you can do to make sure you are spending your valuable networking time wisely, and have fun at the same time!
1.) Reach out to the Host
Before you attend, carve out a moment to reach out the individual or company rep (whoever invited you to their soiree). Let them know you are attending alone and ask them the names of other people that will be there as well. Maybe the host can introduce you to someone specific via email or LinkedIn ahead of time. Then you are prepared to chat that person up once you arrive. This can make a huge difference in how you spend your time at the event. Instead of cruising around a room and slowly sipping on your drink 15 times, you can zero in on those people and make long lasting connections. Plus, any host loves to connect people at or before their own event. Let them!
2.) Don’t Show up Starving
You don’t want to be the one shoveling appetizers down your throat because you forgot to eat before the event. Of course the food looks amazing and you are more than welcome to indulge, but make sure to eat at least something beforehand, so you can spend your precious time meeting new people. If you have the tail of that delicious shrimp cocktail hanging out of your mouth and sauce on your chin, a potential connection might run the other way.
3.) Approach Approach Approach
Yes, go up to people and introduce yourself. They won’t bite. You are there alone, so let’s make the most of this opportunity! Especially if you see another lone soldier like yourself. They will be thankful you approached them, and you could make a friend or business relationship for years to come. There’s no need to sit in a corner and wait for people to approach you. Work the room like a pro! #nofear ☺
4.) Ask About Others First
When you do approach someone, ask about them first. What do they do? Where are they originally from? Do they have kids? Everyone likes to share about themselves. Make sure to listen to the answers carefully though…there might be a common thread between your paths that will make for better engagement and a longer relationship.
5.) 30 Seconds
Be able to explain what you do in 30 seconds or less. When someone returns the favor and asks about your career, you’ve got about 30 seconds of their attention. A ten minute diatribe is just too long. If they want to know more, they’ll ask. If you are making a great connection, get their card and schedule a lunch! The next time this event rolls around, you’ve got a buddy.
6.) HAVE FUN
Going solo to an event is freedom. Have fun schmoozing with anyone you can. We are all better entrepreneurs, clients, leaders, business partners, customers when we have a great network of people around us. If there is potential to grow your circle, take it!
I hope these will help you successfully work your next networking event. Do you have any tips for going to a networking event solo? Share them in the comments below and spread some entrepreneurial love!