20 Something Doing Something is a pretty chill experience and fun environment. I really just want everyone to have a good time but it is also a great opportunity to network with your peers, if you're not too shy or self absorbed. I have networked at loud bars, grocery stores, and while out shopping and once you get the hang of it, it comes easy and you don't even realize you are doing it. Here are a few tips to help prepare your networking skills before #20SDS.
When I network I like to think about what I can offer someone instead of what they can offer me. You already want them on your team but in what ways can you help others so that you both benefit from this future partnership. I will give you an example. A makeup artist messaged me wanting to help with #20SDS which was perfect because I needed a makeup artist for the upcoming shoot but did not know where to begin to look. I also had Vogue Dreams for my magazine spread but was working with a Penny Saver Budget. She was able to work with me because she wanted her makeup photographed, she too had big ideas but did not know where to begin and I'm happy we could help each other
I totally understand the introverts pain. Even though this is my event, I'm just as nervous as the next. My mom calls me an introvert/extrovert, I think it's because even though I am kind of shy and I like to stay to myself, I also know when to get my act together when the time comes. Trust me, I get it people are judgmental. However, others may be able to see what you have to offer in seconds. You could be missing out on a lot of opportunities because you are shy.
Okay I'm horrible for this :(, that's how I know it's important to do. When I went to Raurfest in Atlanta, I met a lot of people, I mean TV producers, artists and some were asking for my card. I didn't even have one so instead they would exchange emails, numbers, or social media with me. That night I broke my phone at the concert and all information was lost, all those contacts... GONE. I still haven't learned my lesson but I just recently got business cards.
Exchanging social media can be just as if not MORE important than exchanging numbers or business cards. Social media is the face of your brand. If the front of a building was not intriguing would you want to go in? Clean your social media up and I'm not even talking about profanity (even though it should be limited), I'm referring to your photos and how you present yourself, what you share, repost and engage in. It is okay to delete photos, statuses and tweets, Kanye does it.
Don't be annoying and text them goodnight after the first time you met. However, if you did have a memorable conversation, follow up before it is too late. I made this mistake before and I regret it, I didnt follow up while he still remembered me and it left me with nothing.
Shut up! It's boring. Don't walk up to someone and give them your business card as soon as you meet them. That's weird and you just wasted one of your business cards. Don't even hand out your business cards or social media handles until you found out more about the person. Have a regular conversation but be prepared to answer any questions about your business or brand when asked.
As a final exam one of my marketing professors made us present an elevator speech, it's that serious. You should be able to say who you are, what you do, and where you are going in 30 seconds. It’s about time and presence, if a person can meet you and find out who you are in those first couple of seconds of knowing your name they will automatically pair it with confidence.
Do NOT force a conversation. It makes for a very awkward situation and you both will be able to tell. Be genuine. Find out something about that person that you can have a genuine conversation about and ride it. I met a girl waiting for drinks at the bar and was in love with her outfit, I instantly knew by the shoes she was wearing that it was more than a cute outfit and she was into fashion. I complimented her and she was shocked I knew what they were. Still waiting at the bar, from there our conversation went on. I was able to find something we both have in common, have a genuine conversation about it, and in the end found out she owned her own boutique in Raleigh. She enjoyed our convo so much she ended up handing me her card.
When it's time to end it, END IT. Don't follow the person around, that's creepy. Don't try to make eye contact across the room, that's weird. Tell them it was nice meeting them, but do not over do it. If you're in a social setting, continue to work the room and meet more interesting people.
I hope these tips are beneficial to you and helps you take your networking skills to another level and hopefully you can use them this Saturday at 20 Something Doin' Something!