The Importance Of Your Networking Style v Event Format

Networking events are not one-size-fits-all.

There are many considerations to take into account.

One of those is the event format versus your networking style.

Finding the right fit makes networking feel a lot less like…networking.

It turns your networking experience from one that might be daunting, into one where you feel comfortable.

Dare I say, into one that you look forward to and enjoy.

Yes, that is possible with networking.

So if you’re struggling to find the right events.

It could be down to your networking style and the format of the events you’re going to being unaligned.

Let’s help you find your fit.

Picture the event scene.

You’re like a rabbit in a headlights.

It’s stressful, you feel your heart rate rising, and you’re counting

You just want to stand in the corner and are counting down the minutes until you can leave.

Been there?

Compared to the opposite.

You walk into an event knowing what to expect.

With that, you’re uber clear with how to approach it.

You’re gliding from conversation to conversation.

There seems to be a distinct lack of nerves, anxiety and self-inflicted stress.

It feels, comfortable?

What’s happening here is you’ve likely found your networking style and the format of the event aligning (or being unaligned in the first instance).

Why is this important?

You want to network where you can be your most authentic self.

I’ve observed it in both cases:

Introverts being overwhelmed by the amount of people at large events, or the open structure, they come across unnaturally.

Not offering a true reflection of them and their business.

The same for extroverts at smaller events.

They can dominate a room, overpower it, and not shine the best light on themselves.

At a networking event, you are a walking billboard for your company.

The right room makes you more comfortable, and allows you present the best picture.

What to consider?

Identify the kind of networker you are (or your networking personality).

If large events with busy rooms and an informal structure drives that anxiety up - focus on smaller groups with more of a rigid format.

If small groups, with a rigid structure and 60 second pitches makes your toes curl or is keeping you restrained - go for the more free flowing and informal events.

Whilst I’ve seen people adapt to the different environment, find the environment and format where you’ll be your most authentic self.

Particularly if you’re just starting out, as you’re improving your networking skills and experience.

Now you’ve understood your networking style…

How do you avoid the wrong event before stepping foot in the room?

I have three suggestions for you:

1. Find the answer (or clues) in the event booking pages - you’ll get a flavour of what to expect and how the event format will run. Failing that…

2. Reach out and speak to the organisers - they will be able to give you a steer on if the event is right for you (any good network will want you to be right - as it’ll mean you’re more likely to enjoy it and continue attending). Or…

3. Ask previous attendees - if you spotted the event through someone posting about it on LinkedIn or via a recommendation, ask them how the event works.

Disclaimer: yes, you may have to sample some events and find out the hard way.

Or you might be told one thing about an event, and the opposite is true.

But doing some due diligence will minimise this risk.

And in the long run, save you a lot of time, money and stress from going to events that weren’t right for you.

Wrap Up

A mix of event styles is good, if you can be a networking chameleon.

But that can be exhausting.

So if you’re struggling, the summary is:

1. Identify and understand your networking style

2. Do your event due diligence

3. Find your networking style versus event format fit

Ultimately, the takeaway is to avoid events where you can’t be your true self.

Aligning your networking style to the event format is key to achieving this.

When it is, it’ll be like walking into a room with a group of old friends.

And you’ll see your networking enjoyment and motivation increase too.

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