You’re not the only one who walks into a networking mixer full of dread. Before you make a run for the door, try a different approach. Tell yourself that it isn’t about you. Instead of trying to meet potential clients, or making another connection that will advance your career, focus exclusively on what you can do for the other attendees. Refrain from telling anyone about your own area of expertise and think about how you can help others in the room. Introduce yourself and immediately ask about them — who they are, why they’re there, and what they’re looking to achieve that evening. Then think about what connections you can make, what favors you might offer, what introductions you might broker. Not only will the event be more fun but you’ll learn about new people and ideas, and you might just get something out of it in return.
Adapted from “Confession of a Networking Pro” by Jodi Glickman.