Tips at Networking Events
For most people, going into a crowded room of unfamiliar faces and having to striking up a conversation is not anyone’s favorite thing to do (unless you are extremely extroverted perhaps). One way of breaking into a group of people already engrossed in conversation is to try to make eye contact with at least one person. Generally, if the purpose of the event is to network, that approach usually works.
Once you break into a group, you can always say, “I’m new here”, “gee, there seems to be a lot of new faces”, or comment about the site of the event just to make some small talk.
A colleague of mine recently remarked that she seeks out someone who is standing alone. Chances are that person is in the same predicament (and thinking “how do I get started)”? I think it’s a pretty good trick and I’ve tried it sucessfully myself.
When you approach one person, initiating small talk seems to be a little bit easier. You can say, “have you been to these events before?’, “what do you think of them”, “have you been a member of this group a long time”, etc.
Lastly, once you get a conversation going with small talk, then, you can ask people questions about themselves and the company they run or represent. From there, if you wish to share what you can offer to help them either with your job skills or the work that you do, you can say, “What do you do to market your business”? or How are you managing your web site?’, etc.
Although working a crowded room, isn’t always easy, one thing I have found is that the more you do it, the easier it gets. Afterall, nothing ventured, nothing gained.