This post originally appeared on the blog MakingManhattan.com.
By Belle Bakst
Networking is one of those necessary things that comes with trying to advance in your career. Not only is it an essential way to meet people in the fashion industry, but it’s also super important because you’ll often be put in public situations (like parties and previews) where networking and going outside of your comfort zone just makes the situation 100% more enjoyable. Not a big networker? Neither were we at one point.
The biggest fear that stopped us from networking was wondering, “What if they don’t like me?” Chances are, you have this fear, too, but the possibility of making a great connection far outweighs the risk of someone not loving your vibe. Present your best self, and more often than not, people will be receptive. Here are three easy tips for networking like a pro.
Dive in. Sometimes in life you just have to go in full force, even if you’re a little apprehensive.
Just say, “Hello.” It sounds like the easiest thing in the world, but every conversation and introduction begins with a greeting. Say hi! (Just make sure you sound confident and genuinely excited.)
Ask questions. After introductions, make sure to ask whoever you’re speaking with relevant questions. For example, if you have approached a group, ask how they all know each other — it’s an easy way to keep the convo going!
The biggest thing to keep in mind is that nobody on the outside knows about your networking fear, and the very best way to overcome it is by facing it head on. You never know what experiences you might miss if you never dive in and try! Some of our closest friends, best memories, future bosses, and brand collaborations happened as a result of networking!
Caroline Vazzana is a fashion writer, editor, and stylist living and working in her hometown of New York. She’s worked for Anna Sui, Marie Claire, Teen Vogue, and InStyle. She has collaborated with designers including Betsey Johnson and Diane Von Furstenberg, and has styled celebrities for various red carpets like the MTV Video Music Awards and Nickelodeon Kids Choice Awards. Caroline is currently the Founder & Creative Director of MakingManhattan.com where she hopes to shed light on the industry to the future fashion generation. Make sure to follow her everywhere @cvazzana for an inside look into her day to day in NYC.