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Getting Through Your First Networking Event

advice Dec 31, 2017
Getting Through Your First Networking Event

Like it or not, starting a virtual assistant business means networking.

Just sitting behind your computer won't get you clients.

To be a valued virtual assistant, you need to build trust and meeting face to face is an important way to build that trust.

I know, I know...if you're an introvert or shy you probably feel a little queasy just at the thought of networking.

I'm more on the introverted side and readily admit that I used to be a bit shy. I know what it is to feel anxious about going to networking events!

So why did I go?

Well, I knew that networking was going to be a key way to find clients.

So I made myself do it.

And do you know what I found out? They're not as bad as you might imagine them to be in your head!

You can find networking events to go to on sites like Eventbrite or you can join a BNI networking group, your local Chamber of Commerce, women's networking groups like Venus...even coworking spaces often hold networking events.

Networking can include anything from attending evening seminars, talks, or workshops, to joining up to an actual networking group that meets on a regular basis.

I would try and find any low-cost workshop I could and head along to as many events as possible because there were always other business owners attending. Perfect prospects!

I also liked these because there was an actual purpose to being there, meaning it wasn't all just standing around talking (typical networking).

Here are my top tips for attending networking events:

  1. Make sure you take plenty of business cards.
  2. Turn your phone off before you enter the event. You don't want to be 'that person' when the speaker starts!
  3. Remember that many others at the event will be feeling exactly the same way!
  4. Before you enter the event take a deep breath, check your fly, adjust your clothes if required and stand up tall. It'll help you relax and feel more confident.
  5. Always have your head up, eyes ready to make contact and have a smile on your face!
  6. As you enter the event take a look around and see if there are any inviting smiles - if so, go straight up to them, introduce yourself and give them a firm handshake. If not, start making your way through people getting a feel for the room and who is there. If you are feeling awkward you can always head for the bathrooms. Then once you re-enter the room you'll have your bearings and can scan the room again for any inviting smiles.
  7. If you enter a room and everyone is already talking in groups now is the time to feel the fear and do it anyway - walk straight up to a group. As they see you there they'll stop the conversation which is your cue to say "Would you mind if I join you?" They will always say yes and then you can introduce yourself. They'll then either let you in on what they were talking about or they will start a new conversation topic with you.
  8. Remember if someone asks you "Where are you from?", they mean what is your business - not where do you live!

Now get your extrovert on and get out there!

Happy networking!

~ Jo 

#SheBelievedSheCouldSoSheDid

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