Lots of people dread networking events & mingling with strangers or near strangers. But, with a little forethought, these gatherings can become low-stress & high-impact. The real key to working a room successfully is to focus on those around you rather than on yourself. Here’s how to start.
Rule #1 (of 3) Working a room:
Being the welcomer rather than the chatterer should take the pressure off. You do NOT have to carry the conversation or be an entertainer. Just invite others into your conversation, into your space. They will be grateful that you’re making it easy for them & will often carry the conversation, requiring little effort on your part.
Here are 4 easy ways to make it clear that you’re welcoming others to talk with you:
SMILE. Who wants to approach or do business with Mr. or Ms. Grumpy?
Initiate the HANDSHAKE. Be firm & friendly.
Take the INITIATIVE to INTRODUCE yourself & invite others into your conversational group. It’s especially important to reach out to others when you see them hanging loose with that “desparately seeking someone-ANYone” look in their eyes.
Physically OPEN UP YOUR CONVERSATIONAL SPACE for others to join in. Literally, step slightly away from the person with whom you’re already talking to make room for another.
How do you create a welcoming environment at networking events?