To celebrate International Women’s Day, some of Singapore’s most prominent organisations are putting together events to help women in the country connect with each other. Naturally, it’s going to require a few networking skills to get into one of these events, and that’s not always easy when your instinct is to stand in a corner! Here are a few tips to make it through one such event and maybe even score a new job (or at least, new contacts).
It’s not about you
Even if you’re looking for a new job or want to find out how to become an entrepreneur, don’t pitch the people you meet with all this immediately. Instead it’s better to try and forget open and honest connections. This leads to others wanting to help you out of their own generosity (and you might want to do the same). A genuine desire to want to help is what can make these new connections meaningful and last.
Just like it can for dating, bringing a wingman to a networking event can help boost your confidence. This helps you break into groups more easily and is less intimidating all round when it comes to speaking to people you don’t know. Just don’t use this person as your crutch throughout the whole night or you’ll just defeat the purpose of networking (unless you’re just there for the free wine of course).
Start before the event
If you want to connect with small groups of influential people, volunteer to help with planning the events themselves. Groups like the Singapore Chapter of Lean In (started by Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg) are always looking for volunteers. It’s a great way to meet women committed to helping over women get ahead at work.
If you don’t like talking, listen
If you’re an introvert, you’re probably already a natural listener. Of maybe you just don’t like bragging about yourself. That’s fine! Instead listen to what other people are telling you and ask pointed to questions to demonstrate that you are. Once again, people appreciate a genuine connection.
Plan to leave
You don’t have to stick around for the whole event, for some people that might seem like torture! Give yourself a time to exit both the events and the conversations you are having. The best way to do that is to have a follow up. Suggest meeting up for coffee if you want to continue the conversation (everyone loves coffee, and a chance to give out advice) and don’t forget to exchange business cards. Follow up if you’re really interested by connecting on LinkedIn (not Facebook).