Tag Archives: Events

Top 15 Networking Tips for Introverts

Networking isn’t easy. It can take up a lot of your time and it’s hard to keep pitching over and over again. As introverts, it can also be a grueling process.

I’m a naturally introverted person, which for me means that networking and heading to events can sap a colossal amount of energy out of me. Not only that, but I can be an absolute nervous wreck before and during the event.

“What if say something stupid? What if I make a fool out of myself?”

I’m here to tell you, that it genuinely does get easier.

Over the years, I’ve learned a few tricks to help me get along. While I’m in no means an expert, I feel far more confident now about attending events on my own.

Practice your pitch

And practice it out loud. Write out a short pitch and become familiar with the key words that describe your blog or business. Five years ago, journalist Áine Kerr asked me while I was writing an article, “Now how would you describe that to a friend?” I haven’t forgotten that advice since. Keep it simple.

Do some networking even before the event

Has the event a page on social media? Are they using a specific hashtag? Check them out! I’ve found that these can be so useful to get a flavour of the attendees and you can even interact with people before the event has begun. You’ll feel far more comfortable with a person you’ve had an online conversation with when you meet them in person.

Have a goal

Tease out why you are attending. Who do you hope to meet? How many people do you hope to connect with? It’s important to set little goals for yourself – it keeps you on the right track too.

Get there early

It’s far more intimidating to head into a room where groups of people have already established conversations across the room. By being early, you can even set the trend and people may start to surround you.

Eye contact with a firm handshake

Eye contact and a firm but brief handshake is always welcome.  Who wants to handle a dead fish? It sounds so basic, but the amount of people I’ve met who don’t bother looking at you is crazy. It can also come across as rude, and people may think you’re not interested in what they’re saying at all. I certainly know that I’m very put off when the person I’m talking to is scanning the room behind my head (When I’m nervous, my eyes tend to go everywhere, so I usually take a deep breath before I decide introduce myself to someone).

Listen first, then pitch

If you think about it this way, the person who starts talking is actually at a disadvantage because they’re only being half listened to (Their counterpart is usually practising their own pitch in their head). By speaking second, this means that you can still listen and get a breather while the person you’re talking to will be more focused when conversation turns to you. Hat tip to The Muse for this one.

Try and ignore that negative inner voice

“Why would they want to talk to me? What if I mess up?” Believe me when I say that I have learned from fluffing up but it’s never as major as we imagine it to be. Despite what you may think, you need to believe that you have something to offer. Sometimes people don’t want to talk and they’ll move on – that’s ok! It can be difficult but try not to take it personally. Understand that they’re here to network too and you just mightn’t be a fit.

Wear an icebreaker!

If you have a statement piece or something quirky that you can wear, this can be a fantastic icebreaker (Yes, I do own a Pikachu watch). Not only can you have a bit of a joke about it, but it’s something that you’re familiar with and can ease you into conversation.

Remember, you don’t have to talk to everyone.

This was one of the biggest mistakes I used to make. You may feel like this is your only shot at connecting with people but honestly, it’s not. Try to connect with a handful of people and they’ll remember you far more than that person you just spent two seconds with.

Don’t hang with friends all night

While it’s nice to see people that you know, if they’re already aware of your pitch, there’s no need to stay with them all night. Of course that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be friendly but remind yourself of the little goals you set yourself.

 

Physically move

It’s tempting to just stay at a table and not budge. The trick I’ve found, is to move to different groups with a smile and depending on the event, simply ask how they’re doing. “Hi! My name is Úna-Minh”, isn’t a pitch or a sale but it’s a simple introduction that has got me moving. It’s very hard to mess up your own name! “Have you been to this before?” is also a really handy line.

Don’t overdo it with your business cards

While it’s a nice feeling to hand over your business card, it’s good to be selective about who you’re handing them out to. Oftentimes people throw cards in the bin, so make sure you take to the time out to make an impression before you hand the card out. That being said, keep your cards handy where they are within reach and you won’t have to go fumbling in your bag. A card case will keep them free from smudges too.

Have a drink

Don’t be afraid to take a glass of wine if you’re looking to settle your nerves but don’t overdo it – especially if you’re around people you’ve never met before. I always keep a bottle of water in my bag, to keep me hydrated and alert (plus even the motion of taking out a bottle to take a sip, gives me a few seconds to collect my thoughts!).

Step out if you’re feeling overwhelmed

As introverts, it’s natural to position ourselves near an exit for a quick getaway. It’s absolutely ok to go outside or to the bathroom for a quick breather. Take five or ten minutes for yourself. It’s better to go to a safe space and take time to gather your thoughts, rather than be flustered amongst people.

Follow up!

Don’t worry, this doesn’t necessary mean a lunch or a coffee (but it’s certainly worth it if the person really struck you and could help in the future). Simply dropping them an email or a tweet shows that you’ve made an effort to reach out and what’s even better is if you can add in some information that was personal to your conversation.

Points about people

They like to talk about themselves and are often flattered when you’re interested in them. The majority will also reciprocate if you’re showing them sincere interest, are maintaining eye contact, and come across as totally genuine.

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Food and Drink Festivals and Events 2015 – 2016

All listings are subject to change depending on whether the event or festival goes ahead or due to other circumstances.

If you’re hosting a food or drink event/festival (big or small!) and would like it featured please drop me an email to unaminh[at]gmail.com

Please consult each link and contact organisers if necessary before making plans! The listings for 2016 are mostly provisional as they haven’t been announced but all will be updated.


2015

September

4th – 13th            A Taste of West Cork Food Festival [Cork]
4th – 13th            A Taste of West Cork Food Festival [Cork]
11th – 13th         Waterford Harvest Festival [Waterford]
11th – 13th         Flavours of Killorglan [Kerry]
11th – 13th         Dublin Coffee and Tea Festival [Dublin]
11th – 13th         Clarenbridge Oyster Festival [Galway]
12th                       Midleton Food & Drink Festival [Cork]
12th – 13th         Athlone River and Food Festival [Westmeath]
13th                       Enniskerry Victorian Field Day [Wicklow]
18th – 20th         Seafood in September [Clare]
18th – 20th         Tesco Taste Festival [Belfast]
19th                       Taste of Togher [Louth]
19th – 20th         Tully Farm Food Fair [Armagh]
25th – 27th         Galway International Oyster & Seafood Festival
25th – 27th           Macroom Food Festival [Cork]
25th – 27th        Dunshaughlin Harvest Festival [Meath]
27th – 28th         Food Fleadh Ballina [Mayo]
29th                       Trails Harvest Picnic [Kilkenny]

October

2nd – 4th              Dingle Food Festival [Kerry]
2nd – 4th              Taste of Monaghan [Monaghan]
9th – 11th            Kinsale Gourmet Festival [Cork]
17th – 18th         Galway Bake Fest [Galway]
18th                       Annual Mushroom Hunt [Cork]
23rd – 26th         Savour Kilkenny Festival of Food [Kilkenny]
25th                       Burren Food Fayre [Clare]
23rd – 26th         Virginia Pumpkin Festival [Cavan]

November

1st                          Orchard & Distillery Tour with Harvest Lunch [Cork]
13th                       Longueville House Long Table Game Dinner [Cork]
14th – 15th        Taste of Louth [Louth]
19th – 21st         Belfast Beer & Cider Festival

December

5th                         Longueville House Long Table Game Dinner [Cork]


2016 [Many Dates to be Confirmed]

Listings for 2016 are mostly provisional as they haven’t been announced but all will be updated.

January

February

Dine in Dublin

5th – 7th                AlTech Craft Brews and Food Fair [Dublin]

March

April

A Taste of Sligo
Dublin Bay Prawn Festival
Galway Food Festival
Roscommon Lamb Festival

15th – 17th            West Waterford Food Festival
29th April – 2nd May Riverfest Limerick [Limerick]

May

Kildorrery Food Fair
Foynes Food Festival
World Chip Championships
Wexford Food & Wine Festival

20th – 22nd          Ballymaloe Literary Festival of Food and Wine [Cork]

June

Strawberry Fields Forever
Sligo Food and Cultural Festival
Taste of Dublin

2nd – 6th                 Bloom [Dublin]

July

Féile na Mara/Achill Island Festival of the Sea
Kilmore Quay Food Festival

August

Doolin Craft Beer & Roots Festival
Taste of Donegal

5th – 6th                 Taste of Cavan [dates not confirmed]

(Lead image via WikimediaCommons)

“Food for Life” the theme for this year’s jam-packed Theatre of Food at Electric Picnic

A homage to all things gastronomic, “Food for Life!” will be the theme at this year’s Theatre of Food at Electric Picnic.

Taking place at Stradbally from September 4th – 6th, the designated food area will host a wide array of activities including food demos, wine tasting, mixology demos, debates, food sampling and more.

Describing the Theatre of Food as a great melting pot and meeting place for Ireland’s most talented foodies, Sally McKenna of the McKenna Guides said; “It is always a great privilege to bring together the best chefs, artisans and food professionals to work towards putting on a spectacular food event in such an enjoyable setting”.

Two family pairings will highlight the central theme to the event; The Happy Pear’s David & Stephen Flynn of The Happy Pear, and Domini & Peaches Kemp. The sibling sets will each demo recipes to help you feel and look better to live to healthier lifestyle.

With contributions from acclaimed chefs and Ireland’s leading food writers, the Theatre of Food will also present hands-on workshops teaching various forgotten skills like making raw milk cheese, butter, fermented food, gluten-free foods and even a taco workshop.

For those who are more beverage-inclined, Electric Picnickers will have the opportunity to hear from craft brewers, the Brown Paper Bag Project, experience a wine, beer and chocolate tasting from two of Ireland’s leading wine experts, John Wilson and Leslie Williams. As well as that, Oisin Davis will be talking about mixology and whiskey and there will be a very special cocktail demo from Shannen Butler-Keane.

“Design in Food” is a feature of this year’s Picnic and food design elements include food stylist Johan van de Merwe, modern Irish chef skills from JP McMahon and a frozen CO2 display that turns beer into ice cream from Judith and Susan Boyle.

This year, since music is a massive part of the festival, food writer and former Hot Press rock journalist, John McKenna is presenting Let Music Be Your Food with Niall Stokes, editor of Hot Press, Kevin O’Toole from Dublin’s Chameleon, Niall Toner of the Sunday Times, TV chef Gary O’Hanlon, Shannen Butler-Keane and front-of-house’s Bridget Healy.

Theatre of Food takes place in the Mindfield area of Electric Picnic. The event is curated by McKennas’ Guides, and produced by VSC Events. Sound exciting? See more of the programme’s breakdown on SpilltheBeans here.

(Images via Theatre of Food on Facebook)

No weekend plans? Gourmet and Craft Beer Fest to be held in Navan

Looking to escape the city for a while? This weekend on June 20th, The Central in Navan will be hosting a craft beer festival as part of the Boyne Valley Food Series.

Featuring craft beer and cider specials, food pairings and gourmet food specials in a Backyard Beer Bazaar, there will be tastings from local and international breweries!

Not only that but there will also be live music and beer cocktail masterclasses.

The event kicks off at 4pm and entrance is €10, this includes beer samples, live entertainment and a Gourmet BBQ on the day.

Sounds like your thing? You can book by emailing info@thecentral.ie or phone 046 9027999

More information can be found here.

(Image via company website)