Don’t waste time at networking events

Sweaty hands, nervousness and awkward conversations. This is how I felt when attending my first networking event. I’ve since learned three questions to ask that eases the nerves when meeting new people:

  • “Hello! How are you?” You have seven seconds to make a good first impression, and it starts before you say anything. As you approach someone, stand up straight, roll and drop your shoulders back, lift the crown of your head, make eye contact, position yourself facing their chest, put your hand out and with a smile, say,” “Hello! How are you?” If they return the question after they answer, respond positively and enthusiastically. Seven seconds later, you’ve made a good first impression.
  • “What do you do for work?” Ask this to discover similar interests between you two. Find a connection and zealously talk about it. If you, however, don’t do the same thing, keep asking questions until you find a connection. Pro tip: ask, “do you have any side projects?” to discover their hidden passions.
  • “What are you doing this weekend?” Not all conversations go exceedingly well. This question eases professional tension and gives you an easy way out of the conversation. Once they answer, enthusiastically respond by saying, “I really hope you have a great time doing [insert activity here]. It was wonderful talking, but I want to meet as many people here as I can. Hope to see you again soon!” If necessary, exchange business cards and move along to the next person.

Networking can be hard, but knowing the right questions to ask will save you time and energy. Avoid getting caught up talking to only one or two people at an event — try to meet everyone. Stay tuned next week for tips about Instagram.