When it comes to confidence at a networking event, it is fantastic to fake it until you make it (with work) when attending a networking event.
This article will focus on faking confidence at a networking event. It is my hope that by teaching you to fake confidence, you will be able to get the job done. Then, as a result, develop the real confidence you will need in the future.
With increases in technology and video options, networking events are becoming increasingly popular. It seems that no matter what your industry or hobby, there are a great number of networking events each year. In the past most were held in exciting destination cities. With the worldwide Corona pandemic, these events now happen via video meetings.
Once you select a networking event to attend, it is time to get prepared. By preparing in advance you are more likely to have an interesting experience with your peers. As with so many things with life, the ability to fake confidence at a networking event begins with preparation.
Your preparation should begin with a study of the event brochure. Today, most conference brochures can be found online. Brochures typically list the purpose of the event, featured speakers, and ticket purchasing options. This is all the information you need to start creating confidence.
Go to the websites for each of the featured speakers. Pay careful attention to each speaker make notes on the topic the speaker will be talking about and the speaker’s biographical information. This information will help you have something to talk about with your fellow attendees. It will also give you something to talk about should you find yourself face to face with one of the featured speakers.
While you are in research mode, be sure to check out the city where the conference is to be held. It is a simple matter to do a Google search of the conference city. You will need to know the typical weather conditions at conference time, the political and social climate of the city as well as the typical tourist destinations. Once again, you are dealing with a situation where knowledge is power. The more knowledge you have, the more facts you have at your disposal, the easier it will be to project confidence.
When the time comes for you to hit the conference floor, smile. Keep all your materials (computer, phone, notebooks, pens etc.) in a lightweight bag on the left side of your body. By keeping everything on the left side, your right side, and importantly your right hand are free to shake hands. While standing in line to enter the conference room, smile at the people on either side of you and force yourself to say hello.
A trick I learned from a friend is to say, “Wow I wish I had a good cup of coffee right now.” That works for a day or afternoon meeting. When it is a nighttime meeting, she changes the coffee to a drink. This is a good icebreaker. The person you are speaking with will either agree or disagree, but it doesn’t matter. A conversation has been started. Keep smiling.
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If you have friends at the conference, arrange to sit together at sessions where possible. Having a friend makes you appear more popular and can help you fake confidence. If you are attending the conference without friends, look around the room for another single person and strike up a conversation.
You can say something like, ” I am here without the friends I usually go places with, do you mind if I sit with you?” In the best case scenario, the person says yes and you make a new friend. Worst case scenario, the person says no and you have to try it again with a different person. But if the person does say no, it is actually great because you will not spend the session with a miserable person!
Talk to those around you about the session, ask what made them pick the particular session. Ask if they have attended an event like this before. By giving other people a chance to talk about their experiences, you flatter them and give them chance to feel important. This will make them feel favorably toward you whenever they encounter you.
People in the room will see you talking and smiling. This makes you look to those in the room as if you are a happy, smiling, and confident person. Repeat this behavior at each session.
The secrets to being able to fake confidence at networking events are:
- research the event
- research the speakers
- strike up a conversation about drinks while waiting in line
- allow a fellow attendee to act like an expert
Anyone can be confident at a networking event with a little work and preparation. So, the question for you this thrilling day is, what are your secrets for appearing to be confident at networking events.