Let's face it, networking can be a little weird and uncomfortable. If you are going to networking events, it can be hard to put yourself out there when you are super nervous. Sometimes, you meet some of the best people at those networking events. I wanted to share a few of my favorite tips with you to ease the overwhelm of your next event.
Bring Your Business Card
Bring your business card everywhere you go. Even if you are just heading to your local coffee shop, you may meet someone that can be a potential client or even someone that you can work with in the future. You never know who you are going to meet. You may network with people in the least expected places so be sure to carry a few cards in your wallet, you never want to be caught cardless!
Think About Talking Points
it's easy to blank when talking to new people! I am very much guilty of this! So I decided to come up with a few talking points that I really wanted to touch on when talking to new people at networking events or even just out in public. Think about your professional life and the journey that you have been on. What are some important talking points that you want to tell? It helps you keep the conversation going when you are nervous or flustered. Plus there are key things that make your studio and style of photography different than someone else's. Make sure whoever you are talking to, gets to know this.
Bring a Buddy
If you are super nervous to go to a networking event, bring a buddy with you! Even better if you have a buddy in your field who wants to meet people too. But remember, don't just chat with each other the whole event, branch out and try to meet people!
It's easy to get down on yourself when you are surrounded by so many professionals in your field! You are there for a reason. You are an amazing photographer. Even if you are just starting out in your career, you have endless possibilities ahead of you and no one knows where you will end up! So act confident and no one will question you! As they say, fake it till you make it :)
When you meet someone at an event, even if just for a few minutes, make sure to grab their business card. This way you can follow up a couple of days after. I am always surprised at how many people do not use this simple trick! It is the best way to refresh their memory of you, helps you stay in their thoughts, and is a great place for you to pitch a partnership or offer your services to them. I refrain from being sales focused when chatting in person, I just find it unnatural and it can quickly end conversations. Therefore I chat a little about me and my business, ask them questions about theirs, and then save all the sales and business chat for a follow up email. If you had a great connection with someone, then be sure to get them to coffee. This is great for picking their brain, bouncing ideas off each other, or just nice to talk to someone who understands your struggels.
Hope these tips helps! Now get out there and network!