On Tuesday I attended my first London Networking event. A breakfast setting in the historic Home House, Portland Square. A members club venue with grand interiors. Having never ‘networked’ before I didn’t know what to expect, I didn’t know if I would be any good at it and I was worried I would end up hiding in the corner of the room all alone. As an event professional and someone who wants to progress my career quickly. Networking is something I know I will have the learn to do, or at least act like I know what I'm doing.
It surprisingly easier than I thought, as someone who isn’t afraid of meeting new people luckily (living in 4 different cities in the last 9 years will do that to you) it felt similar to the first day in a hostel while travelling or a new job. I made a beeline for the coffee and then smiled and approached another attendee also with coffee in hand. She made me feel comfortable straight away by getting right into a conversation, as did everyone I spoke too.
I quickly picked up the general openers used but everyone at these events are they’re for the same thing, they want to be spoken to and they want to discuss their work/ themselves with others so nothing is uncomfortable.
After a half hour of networking we moved into a room for the presentation on Brand and Marketing, which was really interesting. In my full time role I create events as part of the company’s marketing campaign to gain and retain clients so it was great to hear from industry leaders Canvas8, Contagious and PHD on subjects such as the future merging of humanity and technologies, how human behaviours impact Marketing approaches and to see examples of large brand campaigns leading the way in recent trends.
Overall I am so happy with how my first networking event turned out and will definitely be attending as many as I can now I'm surrounding by them in London. Here are the top tips I picked up for attending your first networking event.
1. Fake it until you make it, if you feel uncomfortable unleash your inner Beyonce and try and fake the smile.
2. SMILE walking into a group of people is daunting and sometimes a small group is worse than a large one. But smile say hello and introduce yourself.
3. Everyone is in the same boat. Its not the tube where you will get funny looks if you walk up and start a conversation with someone, they are actually expecting it.
4. Embrace any opportunity, you never know who you meet or who could help you get your next job role and as the saying go its who you know not what you know.
5. Saying that absorb the information speakers are sharing, they are often experts after all and at the start of your career you can learn a great deal from other experiences.
6. Relax, if the networking event is in the evening and supplies wine then great that will help, if its breakfast take a deep breath, scan the room, walk up to someone who looks approachable and smile. As soon as you start talking to someone you will relax.
The beautiful venue: Home House
A Networking Breakfast spread
Brand Network: Annual Trends and Insights Briefing 2018.