Are You Sick + Tired of Networking Events? This One is for You

Do you feel like you're not getting anything out of your networking efforts? Do you attend events and leave without meeting anyone you would want to keep in contact with? Have you completely given up even attending networking events?

Well this is for you. I know you're sick and tired. I've been there and this is how I got out of my rut.
One major thing I did was create my own networking group that catered to my needs and the needs of so many other women. But if you're not up for going that route, I know it can be a lot to take on, here are some keys to getting out of that "I don't like networking" rut.

1. Attend Events That Speak to You
Sometimes you just have to trust your gut and not bother attending every single event that doesn't fit in to what you want to accomplish. Find a meetup group and be active. Groups cannot survive without your support.

2.  Arrive Early
Arriving early to an event gives you the opportunity to possibly meet the host and see who's who coming into the event. You can get a jumpstart on your conversations and connections.

3. Bring Business Cards
But talk to people first before giving them out. Make sure there is a connection before just giving them out.

4. Initiate Conversation
If you're someone that hates small talk, one great lead in question after introducing "How did you hear about the event?" that always leads into more conversation. Don't open with "Hi I'm Michelle, what do you?" Being nice helps. Ask "How are you?" Don't be afraid of feeling awkward, everybody feels awkward. It's okay to feel uncomfortable.

5. Follow Up
If you ask someone for their email address, be sure to follow up. And if someone sends you an email be kind and respond. Following up doesn't have to consist of a lunch or coffee invite. If you have a question you want to ask, save time and ask it in your email.

6. Lower Your Expectations
Every event you attend is a new experience. Some will be unorganized and some will exceed your expectations. Be open to the possibilities.

7. Invest When Necessary
Some events are worth the financial investment of who will be in the room. You have a higher chance of meeting people like you who are willing to invest in themselves.

8. Travel
Get out of your hometown and attend events in other cities. This can be a nice refresh if you find yourself attending events and running to the same people.

Jamillah Y. Johnson
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