If you haven’t been to a networking event, are new to the work place, or you’re re-entering the workforce – keep reading. I was recently asked about how to break the ice at networking events or within new environments when you’re the odd person out / new kid on the block. Well, there isn’t a simple or easy answer. However, I have come up with some pointers to make “fitting in” easier.
Here we go;
First, don’t immediately vouch for someone you barely know and don’t claim to know something/ /someone you don’t know. These occasions are traps. If you meet someone during the first five minutes of an event and then he or she hustles over to use you as a reference- there’s a problem. Claiming you know someone or something that you don’t will also catch up to you and ruin your rep. So, stay clear of these situations heading into any social event.
Next, remain positive. Don’t talk about your personal life, your religious life, or your political views on the first ten meetings. Yes, ten meetings. People are always on their best behavior when your first meet them (typically speaking), so they could discredit you or refuse to work with you (without saying so) based on your lifestyle, religion, or political views. While it isn’t right, it happens- so keep with pleasant conversation that doesn’t reflect any of these controversial topics.
Finally, don’t force yourself to be part of a group. Inner-circles are going to happen. Don’t be offended if a group doesn’t want to welcome you into it right away. In fact, move on. Don’t force yourself to be where you are not wanted. If a group at work, or at a networking event, is giving you the cold shoulder, politely acknowledge it with only a smile and walk away. Don’t fall down either. Instead, move on to another group and try again.
Until next time,
Twyla N. Garrett