How to Own Any Room You Enter

          Making a name for yourself can be nerve-racking when you’re first starting out in your career. It’s likely that you’ve been taught how to conduct yourself in a job interview but when it comes to networking events and conventions, there’s no one to teach you the proper etiquette. Some of the most valuable connections can be made at dinner parties, conferences and career fairs; but it’s how you go about making and maintaining these connections that really matters. 

  1. Prep yourself mentally 

Don’t overthink things. Try not to spend too much time worrying about what might possibly go wrong. Instead, try your best to alleviate feelings of anxiety by making light of a stressful situation. If an awkward, long pause occurs take it in stride and keep going; don’t let one mistake hold you back. According to Forbes, it helps to create targets. Choose three people in the room to speak to; learn at least two new pieces of information or gossip. Forbes also suggests that you affirm your purpose before you enter the room in order to maintain focus.

      2. Have topics already picked out 

According to the author of “How to Work a Room” Susan RoAne it’s best to get a head start on small talk. RoAne suggests reading the news beforehand to get an idea of what you want to talk about. “The only people who demonize small talk are the ones who can’t carry a conversation,” RoAne said. Forbes also recommends using inside connections to make a good first impression on the important guests. If the event organizer is your friend, ask them to introduce you to the big names in the room.

     3. Don’t overdo it 

According to Fortune, one of the best ways to absolutely nail any networking opportunity is to just be you. Most people can tell if you’re faking it and they won’t be interested in keeping up with you after they walk out the door. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with wanting to showcase the best version of you, but there’s a big difference between putting on your best face and acting out a part. Try to act as natural as possible without being too bland. People will be attracted to your genuine personality and you won’t tire yourself out pretending to be someone else.

      4.  Be a connector 

Not only does Forbes emphasize the importance of using your connections to get ahead, they also suggest using them to help others move forward. You can’t do it all on your own; your connections are only going to be valuable to you if you treat them as such. While you’re making your way around the room make sure you’re taking time to introduce your colleagues to one another. Doing so will help create a bigger network for your friends but more importantly it will prove your worth as a contact. When your friends move up in their careers it’s also a win for you because they can help broaden your network as well.

     5. Go outside of your comfort zone 

It’s no secret that the corporate world is male dominated and has been for a long time. This is part of the reason why it is so hard for women to link with their male counterparts. It is important that both genders to work together to change this. Forbes encourages young up and comers to make sure their networking is not gender biased. Women should make an effort to network with each other but it’s still important to connect with members of the opposite sex. Men should also try hard to make real, lasting connections with women and more importantly, they should work to open doors for their female colleagues.