When you first step into a networking event it can be a bit nerve-wracking, especially if you’re by yourself. It’s easy to be intimidated while surveying cliques of people, gauging the best place to start, and looking for an opportunity to join a conversation without being rude. Most people love the idea of networking and creating real, personal relationships with others, but hold back from putting themselves out there for silly, insecurity-related reasons.
myHRcareers holds bi-monthly networking events for all those interested in HR or just plain networking in general, and I had the opportunity of attending one of these events for the first time last Wednesday. Throughout the night I observed many different people and their initial approach to networking. I’ve categorized them in the following:
- The hover-er: one who walks up to a group and hovers on the edges until they’re noticed.
- The buddy: one who finds someone they already know, and joins their conversation.
- The duo: two people, one unit.
- The sniper: one who scopes the scene and makes a beeline for someone already by themselves.
- The statue: one who stays in the exact same place all night.
- The wallflower: one who stands by him or herself near a wall or corner and waits for someone to come up to them.
As you can probably tell, some people were more successful at the networking game than others. When reflecting on the different types of approaches, one thing becomes very clear: everyone is in the same boat. Although we each have varying levels of insecurity when it comes to meeting new people, we have the same agenda. We all showed up at the same event to network and/or learn about HR practices and everyone is willing to meet everyone else, at least for a short while.
The thing about these networking events is you need to have a goal or remember why you came. Once you muster up the courage to approach someone new for the first time, you will have already proven yourself. In other words, if you’re willing to make the effort, the reward will also be within itself.
So get out there, take the initiative, and network! Sign up for myHRcareer’s bi-monthly events and meet others with the passion for HR and networking; you’ve got nothing to lose, and everything to gain!