Whether you’re attending a business networking event in Toronto or anywhere else, one issue that makes most people nervous is going up and talking to someone or joining a group already deep in conversation.
An article in the Economic Times states that, “when entering a roomful of strangers, our inner critic overpowers us with the fear of rejection making us battle with thoughts like “Hope I don’t come across as desperate/ pushy / incompetent”.
So how do you overpower your inner critic?
The article suggests that “the best way to conquer this inner critic is by convincing yourself that everyone in the room has a single objective — to enhance their network by meeting more people.” And you’re there for that exact same reason.
Here are answers to a few pressing networking questions that most people have:
Whom should I join?
Always introduce yourself to a person standing alone or to a large group. While introverts are happier with one-on-one interactions, bigger groups are better as the discussion is already underway, taking away the pressure from you to initiate conversation. Also, bigger groups keep breaking into smaller sub-groups, automatically offering you a chance to connect with more people if you stay put.
The best way to identify the group to join is to see which one has the speaker/ panelist/host or a renowned business leader as its member.
How do I enter the group?
Look for one member who is displaying open body language signals (a smile, brief eye contact or feet angled away from the centre), allowing you access. Wait for a momentary pause in their conversation before you join the group.
What should I say after joining?
Shake hands with everyone, exchange business cards and introduce yourself briefly with your name, company’s name or chosen field of work. Don’t get bogged down by your own awkwardness; instead, focus on remembering the names of people in the group. If you have met any of the group members earlier, jog their memory with “We had met at the xyz event” .
How do I contribute to the conversation?
First, invest time comprehending the conversation thread before you feel pressured to contribute – here introverts score as they display better listening skills. The best way to contribute is to ask relevant questions related to the current topic of conversation.
Business networking in Toronto is a great way to build connections and expand your list of influential contacts.
Your body language and how you present yourself are critical in how you are perceived by others.
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