Networking – Tips To Overcome That Awkward First-Time, In-Person Experience

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?”

What do you do to make your networking effective?
Leave your comments below on any of our channels – YouTube Channel, FacebookTwitter, or Google+.

Sumu Sathi, Mandraa TV

Startupreneur Story Series – Sumu Sathi, Mandraa TV

Dear L Think Crew:

Starting your own business can be both incredibly scary and extremely rewarding! In this new series, we feature entrepreneurs who have bravely decided to venture into startup territory and leave a mark.

In today’s blog post, we are excited to feature Sumu Sathi, President, Producer, and Host of Mandraa TV. You can connect with Ms. Sathi on Facebook or Twitter. Below are her responses to our interview questions.

What inspired you to become an entrepreneur?
My social work background and passion for media inspired me to become an entrepreneur. I am a strong believer in Social Entrepreneurship, so marrying both my careers was something close to my heart. If I can be an entrepreneur by telling inspiring stories through media then why not?

What is the hardest element of running your own business? What strategies and techniques do you use to be successful?
Social Entrepreneurship seems to be new to many in the South Asian community; therefore, not many of my friends who own businesses understand my concept and path. I would say the hardest element is doing business the non-traditional way. The only strategy and technique I am using is asking my client how I can help them. I am sticking to what I believe in, which is helping others by doing what I love. I have also defined what success means to me, which are creating difference in my client’s life and inspiring the people that are supporting Mandraa, so according to my definition I am highly successful!

What is Mandraa TV? What is the focus of your organization?
Mandraa is the new authority in online visual media that connects visionaries in the world of style, the arts, entertainment, lifestyle and more. Our platform focused on showcasing talent, promoting the arts, sharing stories and inspiring others to reach their own goals. Mandraa’s goal is to stimulate your senses and fire your imagination with extraordinary stories of entrepreneurs, community leaders and everyday risk-takers who have achieved their goals and who will inspire you to follow your dreams. Let our imagination unfold yours!

How do you network /connect with other entrepreneurs and business owners?
I connect with entrepreneurs through building relationships. If you talk to any individual or company that we feature on Mandraa, you will hear the relationship they have with Mandraa. Just like there are behind the scenes work for every media productions, there are behind the scenes stories with every entrepreneur I connect with. I don’t attend all the networking events out there because networking has to be effective. I pick the ones that has interesting speakers or the event that has attracting a wide variety of guests instead of one specific industry. Social media has opened doors to many networking possibilities which I admire a lot. I connect with many entrepreneurs through social media daily. It saves time and they can also see that you support them by liking their page or sharing their work.

Do you have any recommendations for those thinking of starting their own business?
Yes! There are two kinds of businesses in my opinion – those that depend on money and those that depend on people. I belong to the second kind and I can speak to the second kind.

*Start building your network – every day connect with one person through social media that you think is doing a great job or that you would like to partner with in the future. Support them.

*If you are feeling uncomfortable about a business decision or if it doesn’t feel right – DON’T DO IT!

*Companies are run by people – value people and make sure you are doing the right thing by selling the right product to them. Ask someone how you can help them instead of asking what they can do for you.

*Identify a problem – Provide a service that the community needs or is lacking as this makes you a unique brand and in high demand.

*Don’t stress – If my business gives me stress which is affecting my physical and emotional health, then I will step back and think about my next move. We start businesses to pursue our passion, be our own boss and make a difference. If it is stressful then what is the point of starting that business? Do things that make you happy!

Interested in entrepreneurship or startups?
Share your stories on any of our channels – YouTube ChannelFacebookTwitter, or Google+.