Alright, cool guy. You’re at another meeting with a couple of new faces. As the saying goes, strangers are just friends that you haven’t met yet, right? So you take a deep breath, grab some punch, walk in the new person’s direction…and completely swerve out of their way.
Sadly, this isn’t anything new for you; in fact, it’s pretty typical of how you’ve been at all of your other networking events. It’s not your fault, of course, as talking to someone you’ve never met is a difficult thing to do for most people – and contrary to what your father used to say, it’s not a fear that simply vanishes just because you get older.
That being said, successfully meeting new people is a great way to boost your confidence, make important connections, collaborate on future projects, and make some new friends. You want to be able to master the art of networking, and if there was a super pill that you could take to do that, you’d down it in a second.
While that doesn’t exist, we offer the next best thing. This article offers some of the best advice to easily approach and connect with any stranger you meet so you can be the one to know at your next gathering. Keep reading to find out more!
1. Ask and Remember Names
This is a pretty basic rule that many people still seem to forget. Asking about names is the perfect way to warm up a conversation (doesn’t it make you feel good for someone to ask your name?) and it instantly establishes a connection between you and the stranger of interest. Make sure to shake their hand and give your name first so they’ll feel more open in giving you theirs and don’t forget to actually remember the name for future follow-ups.
2. It’s All About Location
If it’s one thing that you and your friend-to-be have in common, it’s the very room you’re standing in. You can start a light conversation by commenting on the location of the party – maybe the meatballs are fantastic, or the event is located in a city with some interesting history – and in turn, they’ll respond and give you their own views of the place. You’ll have a nice conversation struck up before you know it.
3. Search Out the Wallflower
Like we’ve said earlier, you aren’t the only one in the world who’s an introvert; in fact, you’d be far from it. Every event has at least one shy soul who’d prefer to sit on the sidelines instead of being a part of the meet-and-greet commotion. Why not do yourself a favor and be the one to open that person up to some conversation. Sometimes, the best way for an introvert to gain confidence in themselves is through another introvert.
4. Talk About Them
Usually, it’s the boastful and obnoxious people who go to great lengths to talk about themselves, but shy individuals can also make the mistake of focusing too much on themselves and not enough on the other person. Make sure you keep the spotlight on your acquaintance by asking them questions and enticing them to answer. Of course, if they ask you a question, be sure to respond and turn it back to them.
5. Put a Funny Bone in Your Body
A little humor never hurt anyone, and it certainly would benefit you at your gathering. Try not to make the joke too obvious or simply unbearable, as that will come off as forceful and undesirable. Instead, a quick and witty comment, such as joking about how underdressed you are or poking fun at the event itself, is a great way to break the ice and get people talking.
6. Compliments Are Appreciated
Few things warm up a conversation quite like a well-placed compliment. Everyone likes to be acknowledged for their efforts, especially at business networking events where everyone in the vicinity has accomplished something great. Compliment them on their business strategy or their new suit or dress, and watch them crack a smile. Bonus points if they blush over your comment.
7. A Friend of a Friend
It’s a known fact that people tend to feel more comfortable around those that they know. This goes for the person that you’re meeting as well. When opening up the conversation, try mentioning someone who you think may be a friend of the individual you’re talking to. Even if they don’t know the person, it still breaks the tension and leads both of you into a conversation.
8. Don’t Forget Their Card
Before you wrap up the conversation, you’ll want to make sure you get their business card from them. After all, the point of going to a networking event is to make connections for the future, and you’ll need a way to follow up with them when all the talk is over. After you finish the event, you can use their contact information to further connect and grow with them on both a professional and personal level.
Your Network to Success
Now that you know how to interact with strangers at networking events, there’s nothing you can’t accomplish. That said, your path to being a successful networker is just beginning; there’s so much more to learn in the networking world that you can use to further boost your professionalism and connect with more people with confidence. Let us be the ones to help you reach your full potential.
At Introducing Me, we make it easy for people like you to learn everything there is to know about networking correctly, so they (and you) can connect with people like a breeze. We offer tons of helpful tips through our online articles, learn from our various learning groups, and even become a member yourself.
Are you ready to get started? Take a look through our site to learn more, or give us a try by joining online today. Let’s make you the successful networker that you know you can be!