Going to events. All PR people have to do it. For some it’s an exciting occurrence that breaks up the week and give you something to look forward to. For others, it’s a necessary evil that you dread. Attending someone else’s event with people you don’t know, and often benefiting a company or organization you don’t know much about can be tricky and even overwhelming. There are a few tips to keep in mind in order to make each event you attend a success and worth your while.
Wear something you feel comfortable in. Often these events occur after work. It’s best to wear something simple but that you feel comfortable and attractive in that day to work. Bring something special like an embellished sweater, a nice scarf or bright shoes to give it a bit of flair that you can put on right before the event so you feel put together and fresh. If you feel good you will be more confident for the night.
Have a couple conversation starters ready. A lot of people are not that great at small talk. But you can fake it. Come prepared and you won’t have to run into running out of things to say. Read the news before you go so there are a couple current events in your head you can comment on, do as much research as possible into the organization throwing the event and the event itself so you can talk about that. If possible, look up a few people that you know will be there and remember a couple of facts about them so when you see them you can ask about something they’re working on or are passionate about.
Have a drink, but not too many. The good thing about these events is that there is always free booze. Take a drink. It will help you loosen up and get in the spirit of a party, and be more social. But drink it slowly. Just holding something can help make you feel more comfortable and not fidget with your hands as people often do when they are not super comfortable talking with strangers. If you can hold the same drink the whole night you are never left with empty hands and you also don’t drink so much that you get overly comfortable. This is still work after all!
Bring someone. The easiest way to put yourself at ease at an event is to go with a friend or plan to meet up with someone you know there. That way you have someone to walk in with and an initial contact once you’re there. You can still talk to other people but also won’t stand around by yourself in between conversations. These things are always more fun when you’re with someone else.
Set a goal. The whole point of these events is networking. It can be intimidating when you don’t know many people, but if you set a goal it makes it that much easier. Say you will meet 2 new people, or talk to 3 people that you didn’t come with. This can be done by asking someone you already do know to introduce you to someone else they know that you have never met. Or go back up to the second tip and use one of your conversation points on one of the people you know is involved with the event. They will love to hear praise of their event and be happy you went up to introduce yourself.
Have fun. Because these events can be beneficial to you, you may as well enjoy them a bit too so you will look forward to the next one and not wish you had stayed home. After you have met your goal, try some of the hors d’ourves, hang out with people you enjoy talking with, or listen to the tunes.