Attending a networking event can be intimidating!  The nerves of what happens when you walk into a room full of strangers who, whether true or not, all seem comfortable being there and know everyone in the room. You feel like the outsider and get a pit in your stomach as you flash back to middle school and those awkward feelings you thought you’d never have to relive.

The good news is, it doesn’t need to be this way!  A networking event is a place where people want to meet strangers and are generally relieved when you take the initiative to speak with them.  Everyone is putting on their brave face, but you’re not the only one feeling uncertain about being there.

Here are 4 quick tips to help you make the most out of attending an event by preparing before you get there and what do you when you arrive!

1. Know Your Goals
It’s important for you to know why you’re going to an event. Is it to meet one person in particular? To interact with a specific industry? To simply mingle and let serendipity happen? To casually get to know people in your community? Whatever your goals are, identify them. It will help you in shaping which events you attend, what you do when you attend them, as well as the conversations you have once you arrive.

2. Do Your Research
Do some research on the organization who is putting on the event. What types of people typically attend? Does their demographic seem like a good fit for the types of people you’re looking to meet? If so, do they offer any lists for you to see who will be attending or who has attended in the past? Determine who organizes the event and do a little research on them.

3. Find The Organizer
When you arrive at an event, ask the people at the registration table who the event organizer is. If you’ve already done your homework, you’ll know a bit about them and what they look like.  Seek them out and introduce yourself. Feel free to let them know what motivated you to attend in case they can help you with your goals that evening.

4. Scout A Location
It can be tempting to stay close to the entrance but it’s actually best to hang out off of a corner of the bar.  Realistically, most people go straight for the bar when they get to an event to have a safe haven and take the edge off.  This gives you an opportunity to speak with them while they wait or when they have a drink in hand and are looking to find someone with whom to speak.

Now that you’re comfortably settled into your first conversation at an event, check back with us for further tips on what to do during and after an event! Also check out these tips on how to become a better networker as well as these tips on what not to do at a networking event!

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