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Feeling awkward at networking events??

Discussion in 'Get productive' started by King, Apr 15, 2012.

  1. King

    King Well-Known Member

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    Well I do - often feel like a sack of spuds !!

    I came across this article (while looking for something else, but hey that's fate!). I feel it has some good info.

    Small talk techniques

    Do you have a favoured small talk technique to add?
    beckles likes this.
  2. bridiej

    bridiej Well-Known Member

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    It can be hard. I used to try and "work the room" and honestly didn't really have a clue what I was doing.

    Then I purchased The FT Guide to Business Networking, which changed the way I network. It helped me understand what I needed to do, and how to stop selling when I spoke to people.

    I also concentrate on getting to know 3 new people at each event - it makes it more manageable, you can have a proper talk without feeling you need to cut it short to move onto someone else and it helps build your referrer network better than chatting to hundreds of different people who can't remember you.

    http://www.bridiestypingservices.com/networking-made-easy-using-the-rule-of-3/
  3. KarenC

    KarenC Well-Known Member

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    A friend/colleague of mine, Robyn Henderson, is dedicated to networking and was one of the first to promote it many years ago.

    She has written a number of books that you can purchase direct from her and gives workshops. See http://www.networkingtowin.com.au/

    Cheers,
    Karen C.
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  4. sarahjoy

    sarahjoy New Member

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    That was a pretty good article - some solid tips in there!

    I always love being at networking events once I get there, but I have to spend a while psyching myself up first! It takes a conscious effort to get out of my comfort zone and spend the time being fully there and making connections.
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  5. FS Concierge

    FS Concierge Administrator Staff Member

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    Nice article Matt, thanks for sharing it :)

    You're certainly not alone in feeling this way... you might also like to check out Peter's Confessions of a networking wimp, and the comments that follow it.

    (And I love the new avatar, by the way!)

    Jayne
  6. MatthewKeath

    MatthewKeath Well-Known Member

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    I have been running networking events for over a year now, and I think the article has some good points

    Number one in my book is LISTEN and ASK QUESTIONS. If you go trying to sell, or to push a cheesy elevator pitch, you are doing it wrong. Networking is not about selling, it's about (surprisingly enough) networking.

    Also, don't find somebody to talk to and then ignore the rest of the group however tempting it is. Try and get around and meet at least 3 people, then at the next one meet another three. Don't scuttle around the room like a crab on speed, people do not like it when you talk at them while looking around for somebody else to talk to. Very rude.

    When in doubt simply picture them in their underwear :)

    We have an event on tomorrow night with over 80 ticketed punters coming along which is the most we have ever had, so I am looking forward to that.
    2 people like this.
  7. Calcul8or

    Calcul8or Active Member

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    Looking forward to the event at the Honey Bar Matthew, and onya for organising it! :)

    While the networking success of people attending such gatherings depends largely on themselves, I also think that the organisers play a massive role in ensuring attendees feel comfortable and included in the proceedings.

    As in any social situation, I guess the key is to relax and not put too much pressure on yourself by doing things like thinking that you HAVE to speak to as many people as you can, or that you MUST hand out your business card to all and sundry.
    1 person likes this.
  8. Shaukat Adam (Khalid)

    Shaukat Adam (Khalid) Well-Known Member

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    act like the host, ask open ended and engaging questions, stop pushing business cards ( i haven't had one since 2005), make the intent of just making connections and networking becomes a piece of cake.

    When i do networking, my goal is to identify future JV partners. That's it.
  9. MatthewKeath

    MatthewKeath Well-Known Member

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    I hope you enjoyed it!

    I am not sure I got round to meeting you, so I hope you will come to our next one so we can get to know each other better.
    Good advice, but I personally like business cards because it helps me remember who I talked to, and it's a handy way of getting a copy of their email and phone without having to write it down.

    I don't push cards, but I do ask everyone I talk to to give me one.
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  10. Shaukat Adam (Khalid)

    Shaukat Adam (Khalid) Well-Known Member

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    I didn't say that i don't take THEIR business cards :D

  11. Calcul8or

    Calcul8or Active Member

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    I did indeed, and would thoroughly recommend them to all Melbourne-based Soloists! Seriously well done, great venue and the ladies from Handle Your Own PR were engaging and knowledgeable and taught me more about PR than I had ever thought about before.

    No we didn't get to meet personally this time as I had to head of as much as I would have liked to stick around longer. But I will come definitely come to the next one, and make a point of saying hi!...and handing you a business card! hehehe
  12. Couple It

    Couple It Well-Known Member

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    Approach the scariest person in the room first...after that, everyone else will be a breeze.

    And make notes on the back of any business cards you receive - name of the event you met them, any other points that will help you remember them when you look at their card next. Otherwise they all tend to blur into each other lol

    Wendy :)
  13. Gordan

    Gordan Member

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    I personally feel quite uncomfortable at networking events as to me it seems like "forced friends" sort of thing, its not natural.

    Thats just me, I still go to them though and meet people even though im not a big fan.
  14. bridiej

    bridiej Well-Known Member

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    Spot on Matthew, I think that's the mistake the majority make: they just sell, sell, sell.
  15. Shaukat Adam (Khalid)

    Shaukat Adam (Khalid) Well-Known Member

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    I believe there should be a rule against promoting one's business. Maybe i'm harsh but how many have been put off from networking because of amateurs?

    Networking to me is more about intellectual stimulation. it's not about promoting or doing business. Engage/enchant me with interesting industry news.

    For example, if i met a SEO person, i prefer to hear about the recent panda and penguin updates, how companies have been affected & why + what are their thoughts on it.




  16. King

    King Well-Known Member

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    but then in smaller centres, to still get the clusters of those who know each other, forming wagon wheel conversation groups with backs preventing unknowns from participating.

    That is one of the major barriers
  17. sarahjoy

    sarahjoy New Member

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    Very good advice - I've only recently started doing this and it's such a good idea! That way next time you flip through your stack of business cards, the ones you need are much easier to find :)
  18. marnieb

    marnieb Active Member

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    I could have written this post. I used to DREAD networking events. I'd be awkward from the minute I decided to go to a networking event.

    I think you really have to ditch all the salesy garbage and just be yourself. GENUINELY be there to meet people, NOT to sell. Somehow, it gets easier after that.
  19. Brett N/Nerds Computer

    Brett N/Nerds Computer Member

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    Hi King,

    I suspect that one of the key things that make s you nervous is what makes so many other people nervous. You don't know these people.

    Here is some advice:

    1. Make it your mission to find at least one thing that you have in common with every person you meet.

    2. When you meet a person use their name three times

    3. Smile, it will help you and your fellow networker happy

    4. Give the person your with your undivided attention.

    Networking events should not be seen as an opportunity to try to make a sale. Rather see it as a chance to get to know people.

    If people know what you do and they like you the sales will come naturally. If networking is not working try another strategy.

    Happy Networking!

    Brett
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  20. gen Y advantage

    gen Y advantage Member

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    Everyone's most favourite subject in the world is themselves - talk about them and get to know them. Networking should be about how YOU can help them, not the other way around. (What is their biggest problem, who is their ideal client, who do you know that you can connect them with...)

    The important thing is to followup after. Send a thank you email, ask them to meet over coffee, share something that they'd find useful or introduce them to someone. Once you start helping others, the more they will feel like helping you in return. Pay it forward.

    Linda Le
    http://www.genYadvantage.com.au

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