Do you hate networking? Do you dread attempting to get dressed in something "professional" just to cling to your wine glass all evening and then go back home feeling drained and like you wasted your evening? You're not alone, because networking in the traditional sense is no fun. Even the word comes with connotations of stuffy, boring, cringe filled events. Fear not, we've got 5 quick tips to get you on your way to having fun whilst networking!
#1. Find an event you actually WANT to attend
Keep an eye on speaker events, panels, conferences, art shows, local classes, anything that catches your eye and would make you want to attend even if growing your network wasn't a goal. If there's a cool event happening with speakers you're not interested in, don't go! It's okay, if not encouraged, to only attend the events you're genuinely interested in.
#2. Make friends, not connections
Next time you head to an event, take out the pressure of them being a 'connection' and go with the idea of just meeting nice people and having a chat with them. You might swap Instagram handles, phone numbers, or even business cards, but at the end of the day you should have felt less pressure, had a more genuine conversation and hopefully enjoyed yourself too!
#3. Pretend you're at a dinner party
Get into a "I'm here to have fun" mind set. Go grab a drink and some food. Compliment someone on their outfit. Instead of asking someone what they do for a living ask them fun questions that will give them a chance to show what kind of person they are ie: what is one thing they are looking forward to this week or if they weren't at this event what would they be doing.
#4. Set reasonable expectations
If your goal is to promote yourself or your business to as many people as possible, chances are you will disappointed. Instead, set a smaller, achievable goal ie: to meet 1 interesting person who you would want to stay in touch with after the event.
#5. Limit the number of events you attend
Conserve your energy for the events you REALLY want to attend! Limit yourself to 2 events per month, and watch your energy levels soar.