Networking can be nerve wrecking for ALL of us. And it doesn't get easier when you're more "accomplished." Breaking the ice with a complete stranger is always a challenge especially if you don't go in prepared. Sometimes we panic and become mute or over talk a poor stranger to death. Don't over (or under) do it. Keep it mellow, yet engaging and most importantly interesting. But most importantly, LISTEN. The most important part of networking is listening so when you follow up with someone, you know how to engage with them and why they're important + valuable. But to kick things off, below are 5 flawless ways to introduce yourself the next time you network.
Most people are overwhelmed with "connecting" with a bunch of strangers in the room. Especially if you're an introvert, lead with something like:
"It's always so crazy to meet a bunch of new people at one time, right? Mind if I hang out here with you where it's not so crazy?" *extend hand* "I'm (your name), by the way. And you are?"
NOM NOM NOM
Food is always a great way to connect with others. Grab a small plate and make your way over to a cocktail table preferably where someone is eating what you are and go for it:
"These mini quiches are so good, right?! I can't stop eating them."
THE RIDE HERE
Especially in a busy city like Atlanta, you can always use traffic as a transition. Just be sure to keep it positive. Try something like:
"Was it crazy getting here for you, too? [A specific highway] was a zoo. Happy to be here and finally be out of the car."
SURE, SELFLESS & SMILING
If you want to just dive into conversation - without the fluff - just walk up to someone with an approachable vibe, look them in the eye and with a smile, ask:
"How you doing tonight? Tell me your story."
Naturally, when you enter the room of a networking event, to make yourself a little more comfortable, we tend to head to the bar for a drink or grab a bite at the buffet table. That's one of the most overlooked places to network and introduce yourself:
"Since we're both here together at the bar/buffet, I feel like I should introduce myself. I'm [your name]. What's brings you in this evening?"
[bctt tweet="5 FLAWLESS ways to introduce yourself the next time you network."]
Networking can be a lot of pressure, but most times when we go in with a good attitude and the nerve to listen to strangers we leave with good results. And honestly, no one there is going to be rude to you for introducing yourself. They're trying to figure it out just like you are.
What's been your best networking experience?