Networking is one of the most effective ways to elevate your professional position.

By meeting people with similar industry interests, you have the chance to increase your knowledge, reach, and overall success. To build your contacts list, attend networking events. They are an opportunity to provide the foundations for long-term professional relationships with those in your industry.

These networking events can be intimidating and overwhelming for many.

The idea of walking into a room and striking up a conversation with someone can weaken the knees for even some extroverts. If you happen to be introverted, the intimidation factor may skyrocket. But here’s the thing, if you can get past the social anxiety, you will place yourself in a winning position. You’ll benefit because they offer invaluable opportunities to make connections. These new connections may help you down the road.

So, how can you relax a rapid heartbeat and sweaty palms when walking up to a group of strangers at an event? Well, for starters, try taking a deep breath. In so doing, you will prime your brain with the necessary oxygen it needs to handle stress. A wonderful thing happens in a restorative breath. The body responds positively because the focus is taken off the stress. Rather, the focus is on something you can control. The deeper and slower the breath, the more beneficial.

Another thing you can do is be sure to dress for success.

By dressing the part you increase your confidence level. When you feel good about yourself, your shoulders drop and you carry your head a little higher. Slipping into a well-tailored suit or dress is a little action with big rewards.

Lastly, enter the event with some ice-breaker questions you can ask another person who looks just as intimated as you may feel. Here are a few questions to get the ball rolling:

  • What brings you to this event?
  • How are you today?
  • What do you do?
  • Are you working on any interesting projects?

For more tips on making the most out of your next networking event, we’ve put together this infographic.

If you are in the Baltimore area, and are interested in networking with ISD Professionals, be sure to look out for UMBC’s ISD Graduate Programs‘ annual ISD Forum. This event features a well-known industry leader in the ISD field. It’s free and open to the public, and typically takes place in the fall.

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