Cory W. Sharp is an intern architect at FEH Design in Des Moines and the current president of the Young Professionals Connection.
It’s nerve-wracking stepping into the unknown. Unfamiliar with a place that is completely full of individuals you have never met before but have to introduce yourself to, and wanting to make a great first impression. The downside to social networking is having to step outside of your comfort zone and introduce yourself to the unknown. However, the upside is endless. Countless opportunities are waiting as soon as you open the door to social networking. So get ready to open that door!
Relax. Get comfortable with the idea that there’s no perfect way to go about it, but that the people inside are just like you. Being uncomfortable is a good thing. It helps you grow, and gives you confidence when confronting that anxiety again.
Ask questions. When you get nervous, just ask about them -- the other people. Get to know the other person better. Not only will it take the spotlight off of you, but the person you’re trying to connect with will be much more interested in you and your business once you have shown interested in them.
Don’t talk about your job titles and the responsibilities that come along with it. There might be hundreds of individuals at an event, and the best way to stand out from the crowd is to not bore people by listing off your resume. People tend to gloss over job titles and responsibilities as easily as they might forget your name.
A good friend of mine, Danny Beyer, gave me a great piece of advice in saying, “Ask them what they are passionate about.” It sounds a bit personal, but it has worked countless times in my experience. People like talking about things they care about, and oftentimes it may not be their job. Don’t let yourself become “what’s his/her name.” Instead, when it’s your turn, talk about what you are passionate about and how those passions motivate you. Emotions resonate with individuals more than words do. When you mix emotions such as passion to your career, you will be well remembered. Take it from someone who is usually remembered as the young architect who enjoys talking transit and eats way too many tacos.
Open the door, be yourself, and success will follow.
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