NEW YORK (MainStreet) — If you're trying to make it to the corner office, you'll never get there by hiding in the corner. For some people, working a room at a networking event seems tantamount to skydiving, but there's no need for shaking a few hands to fill you with dread. Here's a look at five ways to up your networking game and improve the odds of landing your next position.
1. Create a meeting agenda, and practice it.
Unlike an interview where you are in someone else's meeting, networking is your meeting and you are leading it, says Howard Seidel, partner at executive advisory firm Essex Partners.
"Be ready to talk about who you are, what you are trying to find and what kind of help you are seeking," he says. Make sure you know your end game. You should know what your ultimate goal is for this particular networking event. For example, are you working to meet and become linked in with five people in your industry, or do you want to set up one potential one-on-one meeting to forge a stronger connection?"
Decide before you walk in the room how many connections you are going to make, suggests Morag Barrett, CEO of SkyeTeam, an international HR and leadership development firm. This will encourage you to walk up to strangers and introduce yourself.
"If your target is five people, once you have made those connections you can choose to stay or leave," she says. "Nothing says you have to attend all three hours of an event."