Dear L Think Crew:
Imagine walking into a room full of people. As you look around, you realize to your dismay that you don’t recognize anyone. Oh no! Now, you will need to introduce yourself, make a good impression, find something interesting and memorable to talk about, all by yourself.
Networking: What Would You Do?
Some people would walk out. Others would stumble through the next hour by walking around either looking lost or making awkward conversation in smaller groups. But, there are a few that would effectively and successfully work the room to their advantage. How can you replicate their success? Let’s find out!
Come With A Purpose
Many people find it helpful to research the event that they will be attending in advance to research the venue, people attending, dress code and expectations. While conducting this research, you might as well think about your purpose and objectives for attending the event.
For example, you may want to attend a business networking function to build your contact base within your industry. Your two objectives are to make three new contacts so you can exchange and learn from each other, and further develop your networking skills.
Start The Conversation
Not sure what to say to make a fantastic first impression? Look for someone who is solo or in a small group, approach them and introduce yourself. Use your fantastic memory of current events or relevant industry topics and ask for their insight and opinions.
Focus On The Other Person
When you run out of topics of conversation, try to recall an interesting point that other person made and then elaborate on it. By turning the focus on the other person, you will be seen as thoughtful and you may find new insightful topics to engage it. For example, if the other person had mentioned a new trend they’ve witnessed in their project, ask them to elaborate: “Tell me more about this.” or “Why do you think this is happening?”
End Your Conversation On A Positive Note
Do you run into situations where the conversation seems to drag on and you’re not sure how to gracefully exit? Well, you can wait for the other person to stop talking, make a positive final statement that shows engagement and your interest in networking, and then move onto the next group. For example, you can say “I would like to hear from you on how XYZ project goes. Have you seen David? I’m interested in speaking with him before I go this evening?”