Arguably the most difficult part of networking can be striking up a conversation with someone. Whether you are shy by nature or an extrovert, approaching a stranger without feeling awkward can be a challenge. Fortunately, there are some clever ways to handle the situation.
Firstly, remember that most people who attend networking events are there for the same reason that you are, and they may not know anyone either. Therefore, others might appreciate your efforts to reach out. Secondly, and this is targeted at the more gregarious networker, the key to engaging a listener is to be interested in them. You want to learn from their experiences. It is fine to share your own opinions if asked, but a genuine interest in others’ will charm the listener, and individuals naturally divulge more to a willing ear.
Tips to Start Connecting With Professionals
- Particularly stressful occasions can be food or coffee breaks. One tactic is to scan the room and look for someone sitting alone. They may be grateful if you ask to join them. Food, of course, can be an icebreaker to get conversation flowing. Don’t confuse quietness with mundaneness. Those who have a wealth of talent or knowledge to contribute need not compensate with loudness.
- Other ways to break the ice are to complement someone, or to choose a common topic of conversation such as sports or the weather. A simple “Hi, I’m Jennifer” is always a winner, and people will be more than happy to respond when the purpose of the event is to meet and greet.
- Some people worry about keeping the conversation going, but it is not difficult when you already have something in common – the industry event. Discuss how it is going, the parts or speakers that you are looking forward to, and ask the listener for their opinion. Other follow up topics include asking the listener what they do or where they work.
An exit strategy is wise to prepare in case you decide to mingle. A polite way to leave a conversation is to excuse yourself while you seek the bathroom, more food, or to make a telephone call. Express that you were delighted to meet the person and arrange a meeting, coffee, or a drink later if you like. It is acceptable to ask for a business card and to offer yours.
Contact the experienced Reading, PA recruitment professionals at Staffing Service USA to find out about any upcoming networking events and to practice your communication skills. Looking for employment in Reading, PA? Contact our team of recruiters today to learn of potential job opportunities in the area.