Conversation Tips for Networking Events

Conversation Tips for Networking Events If you feel like a person without a home when you walk into a room full of strangers you are not alone. Anyone can learn to overcome the initial greeting jitters with a little bit of preparation.

  • Come up with two or three things to talk about when you meet new people. Identify what is going on in the world of current events.
  • Be clear on the theme of the networking event and be able to talk about it.
  • Think of these functions as mini interviews.
  • Have a few open-ended questions in your pocket.
  • Smile. People don’t expect you to be a walking encyclopedia, but being friendly goes a very long way.

Introductions happen quickly and it is easy to forget someone’s name. Repeat the person’s name as you meet him/her, and then repeat it in your head at least twice. If you didn’t hear the person’s name the first time, simply ask the person to repeat it. We all run into that, especially if the room is noisy.

Build on the conversation. When you are asked a question, give some description within your answer. For example, everyone seems to get the question “What do you do for a living?” Be prepared to say a bit more than job title and place of employment. Think about how you would describe your career so that it becomes easier for the conversation to continue. Include your thoughts and feelings about your position or your career in general. Talk about who you help and how.

Rather than reciprocate with the same question, be prepared with your own questions. Remember it’s like a mini interview. You can ask what brought the person to the function, and build from there. As you learn more about the person and what they are seeking, try to identify how you may be able to help, even if your help is an idea, a connection, etc. If you want to get to know the person a bit more, ask if having a follow up call or cup of coffee would be of interest. If the individual gives you an affirmative response then be sure to follow up.

When you take an attitude of helping others, having some interesting conversation, and simply making connections, it makes these events so much more doable. And, along the way you may just make some new friends.

About the author:
Diane Allen, PCC is a professional certified coach, leadership development consultant and founder of the Strategic Leadership Academy (www.strategicleadershipacademy.com). She has spent the past twelve years helping senior leaders and middle managers build success by building their personal and organizational leadership skills. For a complimentary Tip Sheet on “Networking With Ease”, please send an email to: info@strategicleadershipacademy.com and put “Networking Tip Sheet” in the subject line.

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