6. Overcome your shyness. Much of the value of networking events can be lost if you allow yourself to focus on being unassuming or fundamentally shy. For many, mingling with a room full of strangers can be an unpleasant or even scary experience. Focus on the benefits of meeting exciting new contacts and learning information instead of any butterflies in your stomach.
Until you’ve gained confidence, a good way to do this is to volunteer for a job that requires interacting with other attendees, such as being a greeter. This person stands at the entrance with a label on his name tag identifying his role. He has a specific job and dialog to convey: “How do you do? I’m Chris Carter. Welcome to the chamber mixer. Is this your first event? Please find your name tag. The food is in the next room, and our program will start in 30 minutes.”
Soon you’ll start feeling like the host of the party. You’ve met many new people and will get cheery nods of recognition throughout the event, making it easy to stop and talk later. When you focus on helping others feel comfortable, you’re not thinking about being shy!
7. Travel with your own PR agent. This is a powerful technique that maximizes your networking: Form a duo with a professional friend. When you arrive, alternately separate and come together, talking up each other’s strengths and expertise.
8. Always send a note, e-mail or brochure the next day to the people you’ve met. Keep business cards, and make notes of what you said so when you meet up at another event, you’ll immediately have talking points.
These are all positive, pleasant, easy ways to be memorable. Get the most out of your networking time and energy by making yourself worth remembering!
Patricia Fripp is a speaker, executive speech coach and sales-presentation skills expert who works with organizations and individuals to help them gain a competitive edge through powerful, persuasive, presentation skills. She’s also a past president of the National Speakers Association. For more information, call 415.753.6556; e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org; visit www.fripp.com .