There are few enough people who can breeze into a crowded room and immediately strike up a conversation with a complete stranger. For most of us, there’s that fleeting moment of discomfort as you take your time selecting a tipple from the drink’s tray while desperately scanning the room for someone you know.
Turning up “cold” to an event is not the best way to get a return on networking time. Neither is “speed-dating” your way around the room trying to talk to everyone in it. The process is way more productive (and less intimidating) when you approach it with a purpose and know who you want to meet, what you’d like from them, and what you can offer in return.
“Successful networkers don’t just turn up and show their face. Planning is required and goals should be set in advance,” says Orla Brosnan, managing director of the Etiquette School of Ireland. “If you’re going to an event, research who is going to be there so you can decide beforehand who you need or want to make contact with.