5 tips to help you avoid awkward networking

Ahead of the course Business Fundamentals: Effective Networking, we have a look at some top tips to help you ensure your networking runs as smoothly as possible.

Networking is a fundamental part of building a career, but it can be a daunting prospect introducing yourself to strangers.

Yet the challenge is worth overcoming; successful working relationships can help you move companies, grow new skills or even bring in new business. To help you on your way, we’ve got 5 top tips to avoid the sweaty-palms and nervous chatter of awkward networking events.

networking tips futurelearn

  1. Do your research

If you’re going to an event, research it. Try to find out who will be there, so you’re aware of who you might like to approach and who might interest you. You may also find that there are people there who you’ve met before, which will help to ease you into conversations.

networking tips futurelearn

  1. Arrive on time

You don’t want to arrive too early – being one of only a few people standing in a large space is always uncomfortable. But equally, you don’t want to arrive too late or you will feel the pressure of having to walk into a crowded room, whilst figuring out where to place yourself and who to talk to.

networking tips futurelearn

  1. Balance the conversation

If the thought of talking a lot makes you feel nervous then find ways to balance your conversations; ask open-ended questions that encourage the other person to talk, so that awkward silences are kept to a minimum. If you’re feeling a little unconfident then playing the listener will give you time to step back, relax and consider what you want to say next. It also leaves a good impression.

networking tips futurelearn

  1. Take a break

At a busy and potentially long networking event it is perfectly acceptable to take a break. Even the most experienced and confident networkers will want some time to escape the room. Don’t wear yourself out, else you might find yourself not paying attention to people. Find some space outside for fresh air, get a drink and use the time to reflect on how things are going, so that when you re-enter, you feel ready.

networking tips futurelearn

  1. Don’t be too serious

Networking is your chance to sell yourself and expand your horizons, but that doesn’t mean it needs to be dull.  Share some anecdotes or appropriate jokes, and have a laugh with other people in the room – everyone knows it’s a little bit awkward.

Want to learn more networking? Join Business Fundamentals: Effective Networking. Or if you’re looking to develop your communications more generally, have a look at our Communication skills courses and programs page.

Category Business

Comments (17)


  • Bruce Stutts

    Also just be yourself; Nobody else can!

  • Christy Cheng

    The tips can be applied in my daily life . Thank you !


  • Jenny

    Just what I needed to read in prep for my first networking event!

  • James Robbins

    And don’t forget about follow ups

  • Samuel Smith

    Helpful and enjoyable

  • lyma brns

    Simple & interesting tips .. thank u guys

  • bouchra chieb

    great tips!!


    Helpful tips you got there!

  • Maggie Shaaban

    thank you so much for these great tips

  • Veronica Terblanche

    Thanks,great tips

  • Veronica

    Excellent tips on networking, definitely helpful.

  • Marie Barenskie

    Good tips. I had always thought that it would be better to arrive later but can see the pluses of arriving early.

  • Honey Rose

    Its useful tips..i m happy to be part of this…

  • Anuradha

    Some useful tips were learnt

  • Omod. Kwot. Lual

    I like. This. Subject. Can. Help me

  • Carole Christie

    I do attend events but am not an effective networker. I found the tips on research and the time to arrive helpful. I think one of my failings is not keeping in touch with those I have met.

  • Philip

    These are very helpful tips. Thank you.