In other words, if you attend a networking event or meeting and only hang out with or sit with the people in your own office or friends that you already know, you’re wasting your time. It’s natural to huddle with your friends because it makes us feel safe, but it borders on being anti-social.
Networking is about mixing, mingling and meeting new people. Most of us are not born minglers. Practice and preparation will help you develop the skills it takes to be an effective networker. You must get out of your comfort zone and work the room. Be brave. You can’t be shy while networking and expect results. Make it a choice to have fun as you reach out to new contacts to introduce yourself and build some new relationships.
Say “Hello” to all wall flowers. Just don’t be one. Interact with strangers. Help them by making introductions to others you’ve met already. As difficult or awkward as it may feel at first, the ability to meet and make a positive impression on anyone will become easier the more you are willing to do it. Do yourself a favor and as quickly as possible determine what you have in common with other people there. Talk about that.
Ask questions and really “listen” to the answers. The answers often lead you to new conversations. The goal of the conversation is to learn as much as you can about the person you are meeting, NOT to talk about yourself.
Some people may not respond to your introduction in the way you would like. Never take it personal. If that happens, excuse yourself and move on. The person you think is rejecting you may just be preoccupied with his or her personal stuff.
It’s fine to attend with someone else for morale support, however when you get there you and your friend should split up. After the event you may want to hook-up with your friend and compare notes, but don’t let me catch you hanging out together. 😉
Always remember how important it is for you to physically move around the room. You can accomplish much more and be much more efficient when – as “The Efficiency Coach” says – “divide and conquer!”
BONUS Article: Working a Room If You’re SHY – No Pills Required
Copyright © 2012 – Larry James. Larry James is a Professional Speaker, Author and Coach. He presents networking seminars nationally and “Networking” coaching by telephone or one-on-one. His latest book is, Ten Commitments of Networking: Creative Ways to Maximize Your Personal Connections! Something NEW about Networking is posted on this Networking BLOG every 4th day! Visit Larry’s Networking Website at: “Networking HQ!”
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