CEDIA View: Moving Past the Awkward ... and Towards the Awesome
There is a certain segment of the population that thrives in networking opportunities. They love slapping on a name tag, grabbing a drink and starting a conversation. For the rest of us this can feel unnatural, and—let’s face it—a little bit awkward. It’s important, however, to get over those hang-ups because investing in networking opportunities has the potential to reap rewards, and can even be fun. And so with CEDIA Expo and other networking events on the horizon, we thought we could help you out with a few tips to make the most out of networking events.
• Before heading out to any conference or networking event, make sure your professional and social profiles are up to date. You wouldn’t want people searching for you on LinkedIn to see that your profile isn’t accurate.
• Unless otherwise specified, most events typically offer cocktails and appetizers. With that in mind, it
may be a good idea to eat a little something before attending so that you’re not hungry or drinking on an empty stomach—or even worse, having to balance a drink and a small plate of food while also trying to shake hands. There is nothing classy about not being able to think or speak clearly because you’ve had too much to drink.
• Know your goals. Are you trying to meet certain people? Find a mentor? Find a resource you need? Meet a new friend? Nurture existing relationships? Think about what you hope to gain from attending this event.
At the Event
• Balance being polite and being proactive. Say hello to those you pass and offer a handshake when appropriate. If a group is already engaged in conversation, don’t be afraid to approach them. However, do wait for a break in the conversation to introduce yourself. Respect the fact that people probably have existing relationships with one another, yourself included, but don’t hesitate to get out there and meet new people. After all, that’s one of the main reasons you’re there.