Its ok going into a dark room with an internet connection and working online but sooner or later you’ve got to get out there and see the whites of peoples eyes and shake some hands. Now it can be intimidating walking into a room full of strangers so heres some top tips to work that room more confidently.
Hi I’m Rob Brown and I do one to one coaching and motivational talks and workshops to help people to be more confident and productive with their networking.
That means to know what you want to achieve before you walk in so you are a lot more focussed on what you are doing. It could be to swop three business cards, to have 5 interesting conversations, to meet 4 fun people to source one new referral partner to practice one elevator speech – whatever it is – it makes you focussed.
There is nothing more intimidating to walk into a room full of strangers but if you get there early, you start to then form the groups of two/threes that everyone wants to be in.
The first job when you go in should always be to make yourself familiar with whats around, the toilets, the badges, the food, the drinks, any other people that you know. When you are familiar you get a bit more confident.
Great networkers make the first move—they don’t hold back and stand next to the potted plant waiting for the world to come to them. Go up to people – say hi I’m …… do you mind if I join you? Then you’ve joined the party – then you are in the group.
Be the connector in the room – bring two people together – have you met……, can I introduce you to somebody? Is there anybody in the room you would like to meet? Shall we go and say hello to that person alone over there? And that makes you become a connector in the room.
By this I mean – what if you chose to network with all of the people in the room wearing a suit, or I am just talk to the men or the women or I’m only going to approach people in pairs today or I’m only going to look for people on their own today or I only want to approach people who are wearing a pink tie or with a ribbon in their hair. It sounds silly but it makes it a bit of fun. Nobody else needs to know that you are even playing a game but it gives a you a focus and its creative.
Become a host. Now I call this exhibiting host behaviour and it gives you carte blanche reason to go over to anybody. So pick up a plate full of food, or a tray or drinks to people, would you like a drink, cookie or a sandwich.
Get yourself on the organising committee so that you sign people in – you give people the badges – this means you have people coming up to you – you can talk to anybody and that really helps you roll your sleeves up and get stuck into working a room and everybody is your friend when you’ve got a drink on a tray.
So embrace the face to face networking, work a room more confidently and I promise you you will create so many more networking opportunities you wont know what to do with them.