Networking events can be a great way towards meeting new people that can possibly move forward your brand and circle of supporters. While some events are for fun, leisure and the open bar, there are a few of us who are there for a specific reason: Building Relationships. Many of us attend events with our peers or we may see previous familiar faces from past events and tend to stay in that familiar circle. This is fine at times but how will this help you achieve your purpose of meeting NEW people? Working a room can be intimidating at times but if you go in prepared you can leave the party with a few resourceful contacts that can place you a step closer towards success. We’ve listed ten tips you can follow to help you successfully work your way through your next upcoming social event.
1.Go with a purpose. Remind yourself why you are there. Your time is precious so use it to make some useful connections. Make a goal in your mind of how many people you want to talk to.
2. Use the Host. If you know the event organizer find them and ask them to introduce you to a few people. This will make the process of networking much easier and a time saver when it comes down to finding people who you don’t know.
3. Go At it Alone. When attending an event with people you already know try not to fall into the trap of sticking together for the whole event. This reduces your chance towards meeting people to connect with. Trouble with starting a conversation? Simply giving someone a compliment we’ve seen always seems to open the door for further conversation during an event.
4. Scope Out the Environment. Look for people who are most likely to respond to your attempts positively. Individuals who stand alone are waiting for someone to talk to, or groups of twos and threes that are open to engaging with new participants. You can see this in their body language: if they are facing outward, chances are they are having a casual conversation and would be happy for others to join in.
5. Your Body Has a Language. Folding your arms in front of your body and looking at the floor gives the impression that you don’t want to talk to people and that you are unhappy. Whereas, leaving your arms unfolded and maintaining eye contact will make people feel welcomed and that you are paying attention to what they are saying.
6. Ask open-ended questions. These are questions that cannot be answered with a yes or no.
9. Remember Quality over Quantity. Make each business card one count, rather than handing them out like a party flyer. Have your cards ready if someone asks for it. to make things easier for yourself, keep your cards on one side and the ones you receive on the other side. Also, only take a person’s card if you plan on using it.
10. Be Generous. Offer a helping hand where you can and don’t expect anything in return. Most people appreciate the favor and in time the same gesture will possibly be returned to you in a bigger form.
*Author and speaker, Susan Roane’s book, How to Work a Room is a great tool and offers more in depth knowledge on how to master the art of networking and working a room no matter the occasion.