some folk seems to attend occasion after occasion without ever making a significant contact.
Among other things, I’ve commenced both national and international networking clubs and realized a lot about the several strategies people interact … or don’t. And while I’m generally sociable, there are times when even I can’t find a way to speak to a person. That said, after a period in my career where I achieved or hosted sometimes bold events, I worked out a few strategies to introduce myself, even when in an absolutely difficult crowd.
I’m not recommending that you show up four hours ahead to the next networking event, but even reaching in a half-hour early implies you have time to accommodate yourself to the hall, the hosts, and your surroundings. By the time the next early bird comes there, you already have something familiar. Also, probabilities are good they’ll be pleased to have somebody to talk to and your initial tension will already have burnt off.
After an outstanding meeting, you might want to chew over the day’s speeches with a light bite or cocktail. Chances are reasonable that people will be more relaxed or relieved at the end of an occasion. You also won’t have to strive to make speech, just talk about the day and distinguish it to the experiences of the person you just met.
Tell the person next to you to try the unusual food there
Even the best festivities sometimes have food no one should be made to eat. If there’s something mainly intense or beautiful, help yourself to a serving. Then start up a speech with somebody heading to the food table. Say something light or goofy that requires no stress to respond and makes someone next to you laugh and take a bite and then share their own experiences.
Smile at five folks and then speak to the sixth
If you’re not the kind to smile at outsiders, this is a great time to start. Find friendly-looking faces in the crowd and give them a polite but not irresistible grin or even a nod. It adds to your comfort level while giving a subtle indication to others that you’re approachable. Then switch to the person next to you and say something like “Wow. What a friendly crowd here tonight.”
That offers them an effortless chance to start chatting with you as well. It’s also slightly sneaky because if they give you the cold shoulder after that one, they verify themselves antisocial.
Acknowledge if you’re twinning
For Hollywood stars, having somebody show up on the red carpet wearing an identical dress can be devastating. For regular people, it can be a tremendous conversation starter. See someone wearing the same dress or shoes like you? Smile and let them know you think they have great taste. Starting a conversation about something low key can lead to a genuine discussion about business.
Ask for aid with the WiFi
Occasionally it’s just a matter of breaking the ice and having something to talk about.
Talk to the speaker
As a regular keynote speaker at events, I can tell you that sometimes people forget there’s an actual person behind the speech. After the keynote or introduction, say hi and introduce yourself to the speaker. Thank them if they’ve done a great job or ask them to explain a point they made.
Heckle the heckler
You have to be brave for this one, but if someone’s making an ass of themselves, call them on it in a way that shows you as being polite but determined. And then turn to the person following you to discuss what just happened.
But never in the bathroom
I was once in the ladies’ room after a fundraising occasion. So was the candidate. A lady came out of a stall and before she washed her hands tried to shake hands with the lady of the moment. Don’t do that. Ever. Unlike movies where a urinal is often a position to make threats or make deals, people expect privacy when using the toilet.
Most importantly: Listen
If you’ve finished the tough work and met someone new, don’t be so intent on selling them your life story that you scare them off. “Most networking comprises of a roomful of needy people trying to sell to each other, so somebody who asks and listens is a rarity,” As a coach, that’s my stock in trade. I think it works too because once people are talking about their businesses to someone interested and responsive, they tend to reveal where the problems lie, and of course, I’m careful there with the help they need to settle it.