Networking might not come naturally to you, and that’s okay! Most people aren’t born with the ability to converse with a room full of strangers in a limited amount of time. Even though some individuals seem to enjoy networking more than others, they still think the same weird thoughts as you do. For example:

  1. “OK, here we go. You can do this. You are a wonderful, smart person and everyone should want to meet you. You are…OMG, what is my name? I forgot my name.”

1. How To Make Your Networking Conversations More Meaningful

  1. “Remember to shake everyone’s hand firmly. You can tell everything about a person by their handshake. And that guy’s felt like a wet fish.”
  2. “OK, this person is great and he is a very good potential connection, but what is his name?! Something with an A? Is it Ansel? No, it’s not Ansel and you really need to stop watching The Fault in Our Stars. Oh good, someone else is coming over—she can introduce herself, which means he’ll probably say his name again, which I am 98 percent sure is not Atticus.”

2. 6 Ways to Overcome Your Fear of Networking

  1. “Is my fly up? Wait, I’m wearing a pencil skirt. What I am talking about?”
  2. “Mmm, those hors d’oeuvres look good, but do I want to risk getting something in my teeth? Hors d’oeuvres is such a weird word. But everyone else is taking one so maybe I should? I’ll just stick to my drink. Oh God, what if they think I have a drinking problem? OK, I will take one spinach puff.”
  3. “And now I have no hands to meet this new person. Did I just lift my foot as a substitute? Did she see that?”

3. 40 Conversation Starters That Will Make Networking (Dare We Say) Fun

  1. “Wow, this woman has really cute shoes. Look up. Make eye contact! Don’t be that weird girl looking at shoes.”
  2. “Though people do like to be complimented on their shoes.”
  3. “Remember this person’s name. Joan. JOAN, JOAN, JOAN. Rhymes with phone. Kinda. Wow, I haven’t looked at my phone in like 7 minutes. Look at me living in the moment.”
  4. “OK, done with the food, so now you can use your hands when you are talking. Except remember: don’t twirl your hair or swish your hands back and forth and tilt your head to the side because that makes you look weak, or sympathetic…or something.”
  5. “Ooof, it just got awkwardly quiet. Tell a joke. Why have you forgotten all jokes? What did you watch on TV last night? No, do not admit you watch Dash Dolls. It makes Keeping Up With the Kardashians look like Jane Austen. When was the last time you watched 60 Minutes? Nah, you’ve never watched that in your life. What did your mom tell you happened on The Good Wife this week???”
  6. “Must convey confidence. I know, I’ll put my hands on my hips and spread my feet out a bit, and now…I’m Peter Pan. Why am I standing like Peter Pan? This guy is going to think you are insane. OK, I can totally fix this. I will smoothly put my hands behind my back and cusp them and now, I look like one of the kids from the Sound of Music.”
  7. “They want your business card! Why did I leave them in my purse. OK, going through my purse. Gosh, I never realized how big this bag was. There’s my sports bra!”
  8. “Welp, my feet are starting to hurt. Would this woman be offended if I just lifted it out of my shoe for like a minute? Nah, keep it in there. Why did I pretend to be a person who could wear heels tonight?”
  9. “OMG, I want to be this person. Cool job, great style, no spinach remnants in teeth. Does she teach a class on how to be her? Is it weird if I ask her to dinner? What about a yoga class? Damn, she probably teaches a yoga class. Look how tiny her bag is.”
  10. “Everyone is laughing at my joke and smiling at me. I am so charming!”
  11. “Made some good connections, got some cards, and even managed to drink a glass of red wine and not spill it down my shirt. All in all, I would call it a successful networking event. Now, where’s my Netflix.”

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