According to Van Edwards, most networking events have the same basic setup. There’s a start zone where you check in, a social zone where you get drinks and talk to the host, and a side zone with a bathroom. People you might already be familiar with can usually be found between the social and side zones.
You want to avoid being near individuals you know, because then you won’t make new contacts. You also want to stay away from the bathrooms, as people will be on their way in or out.
Especially if you have social anxiety, you should never start networking with someone in the start zone, explains Vanessa. “People are just getting into the room. They want to say hi to the hosts and get their drink. They’re surveying the room. You’re going to have low quality interactions there because people are going to constantly be excusing themselves.”
The goal is to find the sweet spot, which she states is either in the eyeline of the host (so they can introduce you to others), or right where people exit the bar. “When they have their drink in their hand and they turn to face the room after exiting the bar, they are ready to mingle,” Van Edwards said.