So you’ve walked into the room and you know no one there. Eek! Butterflies kick in and you don’t know where to put yourself or who you should be speaking to.

And breathe!

We’ve all been in this situation at an event and it is never a comfortable one. The thing to remember is that the only way to change from being in a room of strangers to being in a room of friends and acquaintances is to speak to people.

Remember that everyone is there to network and many will feel nervous about initiating a chat so get in there and get the conversation started!

I can recall many times, even recently, where I’ve felt a bit overwhelmed and then I just remind myself that others are most likely feeling the same, or maybe even worse. So I take a deep breath and head on over to say hello.

As soon as that bit is out the way you can relax and the conversation can flow.

I do recommend having a few stock questions in your mind that you can ask people, just in case the conversation is a little bit slow to get going. Also have a polite and professional exit strategy ready so that you can make sure you get an opportunity to ‘work the room’.

By making the first move you are taking control of the room and, especially if you have access to an attendee list, can make sure that you speak to who you need/want to speak to.

Time at networking events always flies by so it’s great skill to be able to have lots of short, sweet conversations that can lead to longer 121 meetings later where appropriate. It’s easy to forget that you’re networking to grow your business and treat it like more of a social event. The trick is to master the skill of being effective and having a lovely time too.

As always I’d love to hear your experiences and thoughts on this so please join in the conversation below…