The easiest way to meet interesting people in your industry is to attend a networking event, work related conference, or a training course. These types of event usually do attract a high turnout so as well as the information on offer; you do get a chance to network with others who are in the same business as you.
Mingling at Industry Events
The good thing about industry events is that you will meet people at all different levels and stages of their career. This can seem daunting if you are just starting out, but remember that everyone had to start somewhere and most people are going to be supportive and friendly if you have the right approach.
To handle a networking event and actually get to meet interesting people, you can employ some handy strategies to make introductions and social interaction much easier. One tip is to email the organizers and let them know that you are new. You will probably find that they offer to meet you and introduce you to a couple of people which will help get the ball rolling.
In addition, it is a good idea to arrive a bit early, rather than fashionably late so that you will be able to talk to other people while they are also still on their own. Do this as you would do at any type of social function, make some conversation and be engaging. Don’t forget the speakers or consultants who may be addressing the meeting. These people usually circulate as well and prior to the event it can be a good time to introduce yourself.
Make this a two-way conversation – asking the other people in your industry questions and also talking a bit about yourself. Think of the event as a date where you want to make a good impression but also want to learn about the other people as well.
It is a good idea to think about how you should introduce yourself in advance of the event. If you can get this down to a few words that convey all the salient points you want them to know. it will help you keep professional. If you don’t consider your introduction and feel nervous you may overwhelm the listener with too many details about yourself. It is good to be open and honest but you do need to make sure you don’t overdo it.
At conferences, there is usually a period of time set aside for mixing. This can be intimidating if everyone seems to know each other and starts forming into groups. If people are friendly, they may include you in the conversation. If not, move onto another group. This is perfectly acceptable, so don’t worry if you think you may look rude by moving on.
If you have managed to attract a small group around you, be friendly and inclusive to other people and invite them into your circle. Take a few minutes to make introductions
According to networking experts, the best way to meet interesting people is to remove your social mask and be honest. Once you drop the need to conform and be liked, it opens up the chance for real life honest social interaction. So if you feel awestruck at meeting someone you admire, don’t bother trying to play it cool. Allowing people to see your authentic self will show that you have the confidence to be you, and this is very engaging.
Make sure you have your business cards ready, remember to write notes on the business cards you receive so that you can remember your new contacts, and you will find that suddenly your industry is full of interesting people who are all part of your network.