POLL: What’s your favorite survival strategy for networking meetings?
If you’re an introverted perfectionist like me, you never feel as if you make enough great contacts at networking meetings. These occasions felt like Olympic-sized failures until I
became more creative and forgiving of myself.
Here are some of the strategies that have helped me.
1. Seek out people who are by themselves.
They may also suffer pangs of shyness.
2. Focus your conversation on the other people.
People love to talk about themselves. Asking questions is a great way to soften them up. Also, you’ll be most memorable if you can offer some information that helps them.
3. Introduce people.
Take the initiative to introduce people who may not know one another. A variation on this is to take a friend and focus on introducing him or her.
4. Use unusual techniques to attract attention.
My favorite is the tag technique I discussed in “Introverts, steal this idea for your next conference!”
5. Lower your expectations.
These days I attend meetings with the goal of making two or three good contacts. This takes the pressure off my perfectionist self.
6. Find out ahead of time who’s attending the meeting, so you can arrange to meet.
This sounds like a great idea, but it hasn’t worked well for me. Invariably, something derails these plans.
Follow up promptly after meeting people. It’s best to contact them before they forget who you are. I recommend that you do not add them to your e-newsletter list without asking first.
What’s your favorite networking survival strategy? Please answer the poll in this blog’s right-hand column. I’ll report on the results in my next newsletter.
If you struggle with networking, you may also enjoy this post from the Harvard Business Review: http://blogs.hbr.org/bregman/2012/03/how-to-attend-a-conference-as.html