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Networking is back: Tips for when you’ve been out of practice

Networking. You know it’s important and you know making new contacts is a sure fire way to win business.

That’s why you’ve booked tickets to ScotSoft 2022 and you’re hoping to meet plenty of likeminded people on the day. 

The only problem is that the word ‘networking’ makes you break out in a rash, so you’re considering following the event on Twitter instead – or wishing it was back online! 

Never fear, networking doesn’t have to be daunting and the benefits definitely outweigh the pre-game nerves. 

Here are our top tips to help you polish up your schmoozing skills and ‘fake it til you make it’: 

Getting in… 

For many people, the most nerve-racking part of networking is getting into your first conversation of the session. Naturally we gravitate towards people we know, but what if you don’t recognise anyone in the room?

First off, do your best to smile. With your body language sorted, take a deep breath and introduce yourself to the person next to you. Once you’ve bitten the bullet and started talking, you’ll forget why you were so worried in the first place. 

If you feel unable to join in a conversation already taking place, stand a few feet from where refreshments are being served, as this tends to be the first place people migrate to. This will allow you to say hello before they join anyone else, and you can start your own conversation. 

…and getting out again 

If you find yourself in a conversation you no longer wish to be a part of, don’t feel obliged to continue. Tell the person you are with that it was interesting speaking with them and wish them good luck. 

Practice your “pitch” 

If you think your networking skills might be a bit rusty, set some time aside to prepare in advance. Jot down a few sentences about yourself and practice saying them aloud a few times in private. This way you’ll be able to quickly and confidently let people know about yourself, so you can move the conversation forward and find out how you might be able to help one another.

But remember, it’s not Dragons’ Den. Try to relax and don’t launch into a hard sell on the first person you meet in the coffee queue. 

Focus on building relationships 

Networking offers an opportunity to build relationships, not just pass out your details to as many people as possible. When you meet new people, listen to what they have to say and consider what you might be able to offer, rather than focusing on what you can gain from them.

Putting your personal agenda to the side also means you’re more likely to have an interesting conversation and learn new things. 

To book your tickets for the ScotSoft 2022 Developer Conference and Leadership Forum and to secure a table at the Awards Dinner,  please click here.

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