Networking for Newcomers

Admit it – Going up to complete strangers and starting a conversation can be quite nerve-wracking. However, if you’re going to be successful in business you absolutely need to get yourself out there and network, network, network! But where do you even start? We asked our experienced networkers what advice they have for networking newcomers and here’s what they had to say. 

Editor’s Note: Quotes have been lightly edited for clarity and length.

Don’t be scared, we are all here for the same reason!

“The people in the room are there to meet people. So it’s not awkward, corny, etc. They showed up for a purpose: to meet you.” – Chrissanne Long, Maximize Digital Media & BRIDGE Local

“Remind yourself we all have something in common.” – Dianne Kaplan, 1st Priority Staffing

“You’re there for the same reason they are. They are going to be open to having a convo with you.” – Frank Castiglione, Digital Architects

Be yourself

“Just introduce yourself and let the conversation happen naturally. The weirder you are, the better the convo.” – Annie Ulle, Maximize Digital Media & BRIDGE Local

“Be authentic. We all have something special to offer: life experience, professional expertise.” – Frank Castiglione, Digital Architects

“If you don’t hit it off with someone, don’t think there is something wrong with you.” – Dianne Kaplan, 1st Priority Staffing

Don’t come off as “salesy”

“Get to know people, don’t try to make a quick sale.” – Rut Patel, Voyager Industries

“Don’t talk so much about yourself but instead ask the other person about them.” – Tonya Tucker, Maximize Digital Media & BRIDGE Local

“Read the book, ‘Give and Takeby Adam Grant; It’s about reciprocity. Don’t try to take from the event, instead, bring value to the event.” – Chrissanne Long, Maximize Digital Media & BRIDGE Local

Advice you may not have heard yet

Have a pep talk with yourself in the car before the event.” – Dianne Kaplan, 1st Priority Staffing

“Email the person who is organizing the event and ask what you can help with. When you have something to do and you walk in with a purpose, it makes you feel like you belong there and you’ll feel more relaxed.” – Isabelle Baker, Isabelle Media

“Do not stand on the side. Engage with people and show them you value their time.” – Rob Gelsinger, Secure Network Services

“Always find a group of odd numbers: 3, 5, 7 and join them. You’ll balance out the conversation.” – Rut Patel, Voyager Industries

Find the quiet people who are not in a group and talk with them.” – Annie Ortiz, Maximize Digital Media & BRIDGE Local

Go to a BRIDGE Local networking event!

The group of people who show up at our events are very welcoming and a lot of them are the ones who are quoted above!