You walk in alone. Suddenly, you can feel your heart beating faster, body temperature rising, and confidence now trying to sprint out of the door. You scan the room to try and find a familiar face, but everyone looks happily engaged in conversation in their niche. The great news is that many people feel this way at events and meetings that require a bit of networking.
Lucky for you, I’ve got some tips and tricks on how to network and maybe even enjoy yourself in the process. Here goes:
- Be yourself. It’s so important to allow people to get to know the real you. Being genuine will not only help you better connect with others, but it will also allow you to stay in touch with those who appreciate you.
- Set reasonable expectations. When you attend an event or meeting, understand your role and goals there. Is your goal to join this organization? Is it to meet new people? Is it to meet a specific person like the program director?
- Take notes. If you’re given a business card after having a great conversation, takes notes on the back of the card after they walk away or immediately after the event. This will help you when following-up with them.
- Listen attentively. If you’re an introvert, this will be cake for you.
- Ask thoughtful questions. The only way to get to know someone is by asking genuine questions—another great way to execute a smoother follow-up.
- Be engaged and smile. Keep eye contact with the person you’re talking to. Small cues such as nodding your head or smiling can go a long way. It helps you build rapport to facilitate a networking relationship.
- Share your passion. Win people over with your enthusiasm for medicine. Tell them why you chose medicine in the first place. Chances are it will create a memorable conversation and leave a lasting impression. I have used this tip many times.
- Follow-up. If you learn nothing else, please remember this: get in touch within 72 hours of the event—you will thank me later.