I remember the first networking event I went to after starting my family. I was excited to go, but walking in was daunting. I was overwhelmed by the number of gorgeous women in the room who seemed to have it all together. I mean - they had websites, business partners, instagram accounts - everything was all set up, and I was just starting (I didn't even have a business name yet!) I kept leaving the room and the organisers kept pulling me back in, nudging me to keep talking to people and get my idea out.
What I realised is everyone had some sort of imposter syndrome going on - they were better at faking it.
So, I came up with a few strategies that helped me to go in with more confidence.
1) Be prepared - some event booking sites allow you to see who is going to be there. Look up some of the people on social media or Linkedin and find out about them. Plan to meet the people you think might be a good for you to connect with. They might also know someone in the room and can introduce you to someone new! Look up the organiser as well - if you connect with them beforehand they can also introduce you to some of the other attendees and maybe even the speaker!
2) Look up the speaker(s) - find out about them and tag them on social media. Not only will you get more followers this way, but the speaker will also know to look out for you on the day. Make the effort and talk to the speaker at the event if you can - if you can’t, direct message or email them and ask to have a call or meet for coffee to chat.
3) Make sure you exchange contact details - if it's a business card, take a photo in case it gets lost and always follow up the same or next day via email. In your email include why you enjoyed talking to that person and get a next step in the diary, such as a meeting or phone call. Startups are almost always ready to collaborate and work together.
4) Keep it up! Once you start going to networking events - you'll start seeing familiar faces - and meet new people along the way. So it's always good to keep going. You can also network online by direct messaging people on social media and meeting in person.
5) Do whatever you need to do to feel good before going. For some inspiration, click here to watch this ted talk on the importance of mentally preparing yourself for confidence in the workplace or important events.
These are my top 5 tips to boost your confidence and growing your niche group of entrepreneurs that can collaborate with you to create a supportive network as your business grows.