Many people are uncomfortable mingling during a networking event. We are often worried about what people will think of us. The easiest way to get around that is to put our focus on them. How? First of all, look for people who appear somewhat lonely, standing by themselves. They appreciate us coming up to them and initiating a conversation. This helps get relationship-building conversations started while promoting confidence in ourselves and the other person. It is easier to join a group previously engaged in a discussion after someone leaves, breaking the circle of participants, which then allow us to comfortably slip right in. The following guidelines will also help:
People approach when your back is to light, such as standing in front of a window during the daytime
- Keep your posture erect, palms up with arms and fingers open and a friendly smile that invites conversation
- Always hold your beverage in your “left” hand to avoid a wet and clammy handshake
- Be mindful that the best conversationalists are the ones with the best “listening” skills!
Introductions can be confusing so here is an easy way to confidently introduce two people:
- Introduce the person with the “least important” title (regardless of gender) to the person with the most important title. For example: Mr. or Ms. Greater Authority, I would like to introduce you to Mr. or Ms. Lesser Authority. An example is introducing a company president’s name before a sales representative. When introducing someone to an individual from another company, however, the one with the “highest position” is actually the guest, or client…even if he/she holds “lower” title.
Introductions should be brief. “How do you do?” or “Hello” is fine. If you can’t remember someone’s name, reintroduce yourself and they will often say their name again. If they don’t, say something like, “We met at last month’s marketing conference at the Embassy Suites. I’m (name).” They should offer it to you at that point. If they still don’t, just smile and say, “I apologize. Would you give me your name again please?”
The main point to remember is: lean slightly forward, give a warm handshake, smile and be totally sincere and engaged in getting to know them and what they do! That kind of interest will have them wanting to get to know you better as well.