You’ve gotten dressed up and ventured out to a networking event. With some advanced research, you are pretty confident that you’ll be able to make good connections at this event. You walk in, and now what? How do you jump in? The first question is, “Am I a guest or a host?” If you’re a regular and know many people at the event, then consider yourself a host. This is true more times than you might have realized. Being a host means you go out of your way to welcome others and make introductions. You look for outliers and help them feel connected. There are many benefits to being a regular and being known by others in the room.
Instead of scattershot attendance, focus your energy on just a few organizations’ events to quickly become a regular.
There’s always a first time when you’re a newcomer. What do you do? If you are introverted or shy, you may gravitate to the room's edges, which can be counterproductive to making connections.
Yes, you may find it’s easier to meet other wallflowers, but what options at the end of that conversation? If neither of you knows other people in the room, you can’t get introduced or make introductions, which will make your exit more complex and potentially awkward. Excuse me. I need to find the restroom.
Start by circling the room to get a lay of the land. Notice how people are gathered, and look for openings in groups of 3 or 4 people having a casual conversation (avoid interrupting duos in a dynamic discussion). By observing the body language of others in the room, you’ll become aware of who is more open to engaging in a conversation. I covered this tip in more detail in episode 8: #1 Networking Tip Croissants vs. Bagels.
If you’ve completed your lap and didn’t see a conversation opening, get in line for food or a drink. Make eye contact with someone near you and start a casual conversation as you move through the line. You could ask them their opinion about the specialty drink they ordered or comment on how delicious the buffalo artichoke cheese dip is. The point is to keep it casual; this is not the moment to whip out your business card and pitch them.
It’s essential to keep these interactions upbeat and resist the temptation to connect through complaining. While it’s common to complain about the weather, traffic, sports, or the stock market, these are not great opening lines, as they tend to result in rote replies. If done in excess, you will be pegged as a downer, and no one wants to hang out with a complainer. Instead, use this as an opportunity to make a positive observation or ask a question about the food or drink in front of you–just something small to get a conversation started with someone standing near you.
It’s much easier to meet people when they are not standing with their circle of friends.
This is more likely to happen when you get in line for food or a drink. This is also a critical difference between networking events and any night of the week at a bar. While it’s possible to apply these tips in any social situation, people are looking to make connections at a networking event. So meeting someone casually while getting a drink may lead to you being invited to meet the friend they came with. That friend may be in a conversation with a couple of people they just met. Now, instead of not knowing a single soul in the room, you are interacting with four people who are all there to get to know new people!
Of course, you’ll have the best experience at a networking event if you plan and have a sense of purpose for why you are in the room. Listen to episode 4 to learn how to “Stop Wasting Time Networking” and make the most of these opportunities.
You’ll also want to avoid saying something that will alienate someone as you meet them. To learn best practices for what to say and what not to say when greeting someone, listen to episode 6, “The downside to being a unicorn.”
If you haven’t already, check out all of my shorter podcast episodes if you haven't already. Every other week I share a practical tip or technique that will help you become more confident when you network. Leave a comment in the show notes at OntheSchmooze.com – look for episode 20.
ROBBIE SAMUELS has been recognized as a “networking expert” by Inc. and
Lifehacker, and profiled in Stand Out: How to Find Your Breakthrough Idea and Build a
Following Around It by Dorie Clark. He is the author of Croissants vs. Bagels: Strategic,
Effective, and Inclusive Networking at Conferences. A professional member of the
National Speakers Association, he has been speaking on the topic of inclusive
networking for over a decade. While practical and filled with easy to implement action
steps, his talks are most often described as “dynamic, engaging, and funny.” He shares
“small, big ideas,” everyday ideas, which are accessible and immediately actionable and
have the power to inspire significant change. Tune into his weekly podcast, On the
Schmooze, and visit www.robbiesamuels.com/ten-tips to download “10 Tips for
ABOUT ROBBIE: www.robbiesamuels.com/about
Business Growth Strategy Coach
Robbie coaches inspiring entrepreneurial women in their 50s and beyond (and a few awesome men) to grow their impact and income by building an audience before launching new revenue streams.
WHO YOU ARE:
You want to have a greater impact and increased income. The problem is that there are so many options for how to build your business that you can feel stuck, overwhelmed, and like you’re running out of time.
The reason options are overwhelming is that you’re looking at them as a series of disconnected steps when to make the most of your time, you need a strategy that connects only the most important and highest impact ones.
You know that if you try to do everything, you’ll accomplish nothing. This means, to achieve your goal, you have to invest in a strategy to put time on your side.
WAYS ROBBIE OFFERS SUPPORT:
As a relationship-based business growth strategist, Robbie will work with you one-on-one to design a year-long plan that consists of three 12-week sprints, each followed by 4 weeks of reflection/assessment, rejuvenation, learning, and strategic planning. This will allow you to sequence your goals, create momentum, and leverage your limited time.
Have a project that you want feedback on or need assistance with a specific strategy? He offers half-day strategy sessions.
Already selling but feeling stuck around how to increase your revenue? Sign up for a one-day mastermind with fellow entrepreneurs to break through to the next level.
Ready to dig into your network to validate a solution you’ve been working on to see if you can build an audience for it before launching? Sign up for 12 Weeks to Create Your Irresistible Offer program.
Want accountability, support, and guidance as you implement your strategic plan? Learn more about his year-long Wake Up Your Network mastermind program.
These are not right for everyone; they're personalized offerings and are priced accordingly.
WHAT MIGHT YOU WORK ON?
In his coaching work with entrepreneurs, his clients focus on the areas where they'd like to grow, which may include:
- Creating a strong sales conversation framework
- Building your referral network
- Lead generation through a relationships
- Growing your visibility in your industry
- Increasing your ability to attract the right kind of clients
- Identifying and launching a minimally viable offer
- Breaking through whatever bottleneck is holding you back from getting the results you want and deserve
- Becoming a published author and marketing your book successfully
- Improving your virtual presentation skills
LEARN MORE AND SCHEDULE A CHAT: www.robbiesamuels.com/coaching
Robbie is excited to support you in reaching or exceeding your goals.
Interested in booking Robbie to speak? At www.robbiesamuels.com/speaking you’ll find video clips and a description of his talks.
Watch his TEDx talk “Hate networking? Stop bageling and be the croissant!” at www.robbiesamuels.com/TEDx.
- Connect with Robbie on LinkedIn
- @RobbieSamuels on Twitter and Instagram
- New to his website? Start here
- On the Schmooze podcast archive – weekly since July 2016!
SIGN UP for his free weekly #NoMoreBadZoom Virtual Happy Hours – www.NoMoreBadZoom.com
Affiliate Links: Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links above are “affiliate links”. This means that if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products and services I use personally and believe will add value to my listeners. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
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