Networking events can be a struggle for those who consider themselves socially awkward. But the alternative—avoiding meeting new people—could be detrimental to achieving your career goals. The legendary Beyoncé, far from socially awkward, could certainly teach a thing or two about how to work a crowd. With these Beyhive-approved steps, even the most shy and awkward among us might be able to master the networking arena and become a schmoozing professional.
1. Building your confidence is one of the most important ways you can prepare for a networking event, and King Bey is the ultimate inspiration for confidence. Not “Yoncé” enough yet? That’s nothing a pep talk or two in the mirror with “Flawless” won’t be able to fix.
2. If you’re going to a networking event, study the key players who will be there. Knowing the professional moves they’ve made can be an impressive conversation starter.
3. Clean up your social media bio before you network. People will try to find you on Twitter and other networks, and you want them to take you seriously. Your social bios should be short, sweet and professional: Hashtags and links are acceptable, but save the extended info for your LinkedIn page.
4. Be comfortable—but use your good judgment on this one. Wear one of your favorite appropriate pieces to boost your confidence and possibly win some compliments. Keep it classy, and stay away from gaudy items; it’s not quite the time for a “Freakum Dress.”
5. If big crowds make you nervous, what better way to overcome that than by showing up early? You’ll make a good first impression on other early arrivers, who just might be the key players you need to get to know.