A Great Tip for Networking Events

At networking meetings and events around the world, I often meet people who are uncomfortable with introducing themselves to new contacts. For some people, the barrier is a feeling of inadequacy (“Why would anyone want to meet me?”), but mostly the problem is the sheer awkwardness of approaching a stranger and saying “Hi.”

One of the best ways to put yourself at ease and overcome this awkwardness is to act like the host of the event. This approach is recommended in Dr. Adele Scheele’s book, Skills for Success, and I cover it in a new (free) show hosted by yourBusinessChannel.

The idea is that by acting as if you are the host of an event, you learn to behave in an active way, not a passive way. All of a sudden, it seems natural not only to introduce yourself to people, but also to introduce people to each other, to watch for lulls in conversation and prompt further conversation, and so on. In other words, you are acting just as you do when you are the host of your own party or event.

This is a great trick for improving your networking abilities, and you can even take it a step further by not just acting like the host but by actually being the host. What I mean by this is that most networking organizations, BNI included, have a position available in their networking meetings for a person to be the host for a given meeting and welcome new people.

I believe  it’s often the lack of context that makes it awkward to introduce yourself to new people at a networking event and, by being the host, you provide yourself with proper context.

7 thoughts on “A Great Tip for Networking Events

  1. Intresting information, it’s good that you posted this. I like to learn new things everyday so I want to read blogs like yours.

    Luke

  2. Great advice! I’ve never tried that approach, but I think it will be helpful given my next opportunity. Speaking of simple tips, when there are lulls in a conversation with people you’ve just met, I like to try to pick something from the past five minutes to discuss rather than trying to pull a topic out of thin air. That makes it easy to come up with something quickly and ease any awkwardness. “That traffic was terrible getting over here (I live in LA so this often applies)”; or “What did you think of the speaker?”; you get the idea.

  3. I hit the nail on the head. I was at an event tonight and It was really hard for me to get started talking to people, because everyone setting at the table was quite, but if I would have followed your advice as I will from now on. I would have been the host and I could have got everybody talking.

    Great advise
    Brad.

  4. This is a great tip to remember and apply since we are in the midst of our Spring Membership Drive. During this time BNI chapters are having alot of visitors attending their chapter meeting.

  5. Interesting advice, Ivan. I now do a lot of networking, but I remember how scary it was when I started, about nine months ago. Tomorrow, I start running a monthly evening networking event in Billericay, Essex (UK) – “you can even take it a step further by not just acting like the host but by actually being the host” worked for me!

    Dallas Willcox,
    Simply Words Editing Services.

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