Three more rules for networking excellence

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So your professionals know why they are at the seminar.  Now all they have to do is  perform.  Most of them know the drill backwards when it comes to the work that they do.  Unfortunately, many lack such a drill for business development when attending your expensively-wrought events.

“I don’t know what to do”  “How do I talk to someone I‘ve never met before?”

Here are three things to help at the ‘crunch’ points.

Upon entering a room….panic, make a bee-line for the safety of your colleagues, or just look like you’d rather be anywhere else.  That’s how many behave when entering a room full of strangers.  There are a number of tactics to employ to help achieve the aim (meet new people, develop prospective client relationships etc.) and to give confidence.  Like them all, this one is very simple.  Most events contain people who are in exactly the same boat as you and your people.  They are often alone, don’t know anyone, nervous, uncertain of how to behave – and very grateful when someone talks to them.  These wall-flowers represent the best opportunity for first conversations.  So target them.

Breaking in  There’s someone you want to meet – but (s)he is engaged in conversation with two others, and has been for some time.  What do you do?  Well first, you need to assess the intensity of the conversation (body language here is the indicator).  If it looks heavy, then best to try another time.  If not, approach and join the group, making eye contact first with its members, listen, and then join in if you have a contribution.  Of course it’s a bit more complicated than that – but not much.

Breaking out   Being stuck with someone – who is not relevant as a potential client or intermediary and/or is just plain boring – appears high on many people’s networking nightmare list.  The best get-out clause we know is to tell a palatable truth.  For example: “It’s been nice to meet you, but there are a number of people in the room that I must talk to before they leave, so I’m going to have to go”.

James Newberry is a coach and trainer who helps professionals do more business.  Have a look at http://www.peoplescope.com to know more.

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