How many times have you been to a networking meeting, seen someone looking miserable as sin and thought “I want to speak to that person!”? I’m guessing never? Well, perhaps if you were a counsellor… Seriously, if you look or are miserable then people won’t want to speak to you.
As a general rule we want to speak to people who make us feel better in some way and networking is no different. You’re there to do business after all and most networkers attend networking meetings to meet and grow relationships with other business people who will either work with them directly, who will give them quality referrals or who is someone they can learn from or be inspired by. So moody is not on the ‘want’ list of attributes.
Now I’d be willing to bet that the majority of people attending networking events feel nervous when they get there and have to push themselves out of their comfort zone to start-up a conversation with ‘a stranger’. It very common to see groups of people chatting away and more often than not they already know each other from previous meetings.
It’s a bit of a case of ‘fake it til you make it’ here. My advice if you’re feeling a touch wobbly about getting the conversation started is to take a deep breathe, smile and just get talking.
Smiling will immediately make you feel better and when you feel better you will look more confident and then you’ll feel more confident, which will make you smile more… and so on. Before you know it you’ll be surrounded by new friends.
Whether you’re a new or seasoned networker you’ll know how important it is, as a new visitor, to have someone walk up to you, smile, start the conversation and even introduce you to other relevant business contacts. So, when you see someone at a networking meeting that is standing alone and looking unsure, you know what to do; flash the, a smile and head on over there. You never know, they may just be your next top customer!
As always I’d love to hear your experiences and thoughts on this so please join in the conversation below…