Feel Awkward at Communication Events? Try This

BY Jessica Helinski
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Some salespeople love communication events while others loathe having to network all day. Either way, networking is a must for those in sales career fields. There are ways to feel a little less awkward at these kinds of events, though. Forbes writer Carrie Kerpen has three great tips for ensuring your next communication event isn't nearly as awkward and uncomfortable as your past experiences may have been.

Communication Event Tips

Wear clothes with pockets. Simply wearing a jacket or pants (or, if you're a lucky shopper, maybe even a dress!) with pockets can do wonders for your comfort level at a communication event. Why? “There are few things more awkward than fishing for a business card in your purse or walking around with a fist full of other people’s business cards,” she explains. Pockets are an instant fix for storage issues such as these. If your cloths have pockets, you’ll quickly have access to your business cards to hand out to potential clients and other business contacts, and you won’t be juggling the cards you collect from others.

Always keep one hand free. At most communication events, drinks and food are available for guests to indulge in at their leisure. It's perfectly acceptable, and expected, for guests to partake. But, make sure you don't eat and drink at the same time. This may seem like an odd bit of advice, but as Kerpen points out, “Have you ever tried to awkwardly greet someone while balancing a plate of hors‑d'oeuvres in one hand and a glass of wine in the other?” It's not an easy process. The next time you're at a communication event with food, simply be mindful of always keeping one hand free so that you’re prepared for a proper handshake.

Go to communication events alone. Yes, having at least one coworker or friend with you at these types of events is reassuring. But you’ll also be less likely to mingle if you have a safety net to talk to. Going solo is the better choice, even if it seems like it would only make you more uncomfortable. “When you go to a networking event alone, you have no other choice but to force yourself to get over the awkwardness, meet someone new, and accomplish what you came there to do: network,” she writes. Additionally, if you go to an event like this with someone else and are continuously talk to them, you may appear too busy to talk to a potential contact who may have been looking for the right opportunity to approach you. If you always look engaged in one-​on-​one conversation with someone else, third parties may think it's an important conversation and won't want to interrupt you.

These three communication events tips will make your next experience less awkward so that you can focus all your attention on actually meeting new contacts. Kerpen's post also includes advice from others, so make sure to check out their tips, as well. With all that new knowledge and advice, you’ll be ready to navigate that next communication event with ease.