Feel Awkward At Networking Events? Try These 3 Tips

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Some salespeople love networking events while others loathe them. Either way, networking is a must for those in sales. There are ways to feel a little less awkward, though. Forbes writer Carrie Kerpen has three great tips for ensuring your next networking event isn't nearly as awkward and uncomfortable:

Wear pockets. Simply wearing a jacket or pants with pockets can do wonders for your comfort level. 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 this issue. You’ll quickly have access to yours to hand out, and you won’t be juggling the cards you collect.

Always keep one hand free. At most events, drinks and food are served. It's perfectly acceptable, and expected, to partake. But, eat and drink separately. 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?” Not easy. Next time, simply be mindful of always keeping one hand free so that you’re prepared for a proper handshake.

Go alone. Yes, having at least one coworker or friend with you is reassuring, but you’ll also be less likely to mingle. 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.

These three tips will make your next event less awkward, so you can focus instead on actually meeting new contacts. Her post also includes advice from others, so make sure to check out their tips, too; you’ll be ready to navigate that next event with ease.

Jessica Helinski

Jessica Helinski

Jessica is a senior research analyst for SalesFuel focusing on selling to SMB decision makers. She also reports on sales and presentation tips for SalesFuel and Media Sales Today. Jessica is a graduate of Ohio University.