Networking events can be daunting for some, boring for others. Overall, they tend to be taken much too seriously. Many of us go in with a precise goal in mind: meeting a specific person, spreading the word about our company, finding a new job.

We enter networking events ready to sell ourselves – we expose our professional selves and seem to forget that actually, we are just as human as everyone else in the room. As a result, our interactions are much less genuine, less interesting and less likely to result in building authentic new relations.

The best way to truly connect is actually to stick to informal talk. Speak about your experiences, your passions. Instead of showing what makes you different or special, focus on finding common interests with others. This will make you much more relatable and intimacy is known to contribute to building trust.

So next time you are at a networking event, ditch the sales pitch and introduce yourself with a personal anecdote instead – and if you are not the spontaneous type, have an introduction line ready to ease you into new conversations !

 We are the sports practice of global advisory firm Burson Cohn & Wolfe. We provide strategy and communication advice for sports clients around the world. For more information: