It’s always fun and a little less intimidating to attend a networking event with a friend or colleague, but, lets face it, it’s not always possible! Not having someone to go with shouldn’t be an excuse to miss out on some productive networking. In fact, there are actually benefits of attending networking events solo. It forces you to approach and talk to people you might not usually speak with, and allows you to move around the room and talk to different people at your own discretion.
The thought of attending your first solo networking event can be incredibly daunting, understandably so! But if approached correctly, it can actually be really enjoyable getting out of your comfort zone!
Follow our five tips to succeed at your first solo networking event.
- Find others to approach who are also solo. They will be looking to connect with others and will likely appreciate you initiating a conversation. Try something simple to break the ice like “Have you been to these events before?”
- Stay off your phone. While it might be tempting to pull out your phone and scroll through social media in an attempt to feel more comfortable, this won’t help you connect with others and grow the network you are looking for. So pop the phone away and only use it if you need to add a new connection on Linked in or jot down someone’s details.
- Prepare a few questions to ask others before the event. This may help you feel comfortable initiating a conversation and allow you to grow a connection with others. You can often find a list of the members attending these types of events and knowing who you might like to connect with can help with conversation topics.
- Find the people/person hosting the event and see if they can introduce you to others. The role of the host is to encourage networking and ensure everyone is enjoying the event – this includes making sure everyone feels included so they should be more than happy to help.
- Walk around the room and talk to different people. It may seem easier to spend the entire night with the first person you talk to, however, this won’t allow you to truly network. Try and move around the room and have an aim of meeting a minimum of three new people.
With the next HBWN event coming up, challenge yourself to attend even if you don’t have someone to go with. You might find that this is the key to truly growing the connections you have been looking for.