...Networking with Strangers or VIPs
What to say when networking with strangers or VIPs. So here's the situation. You attend an out-of-town conference by yourself and you don't feel comfortable approaching strangers, but you also don't want to stand in the corner all by yourself. What should you do and say? Here's what you may be thinking, but don't say to anyone. "I'm really bad at this. "Everyone will be looking at me in the corner by myself. "I really hate this." Here's a solution. Preparation I key here. Start by setting a realistic and comfortable goal for yourself. To make five good connections or collect five business cards from new people that you meet. Then focus your attention on achieving that goal rather than on what strangers may be thinking about you because they're not, I can guarantee you that. One approach is to pretend you're a scientist on a research expedition. What can you learn from the people you meet and what evidence will you bring back to your team? What questions can you prepare for your researc...
h? Then start talking to strangers. And here's what you could say. With curiosity, "What's been the most valuable part "of this conference for you?" Or, "Is this your first time at this event too?" Or with generosity, the very basic, "Hi, my name is blank. "What do you do?" And this is generous because you take the initiative. Remember, others may be just as uncomfortable as you are. Or with humility, "When I sign up for events like this, "I really look forward to meeting people "who'll teach me something that I don't know." The overarching idea here is that you are not alone in your discomfort. So one strategy is to put on your research hat and use curiosity to guide the conversation. What can you learn from each person? Focus entirely on them and take your attention off yourself. Ask questions. People like to talk about themselves, so you'll get points for being a great listener. Learn about them as a person too. Don't just focus on business. You'd be surprised by the things you may have in common. Plus, the more you do this, the better you'll get, Practice will build your confidence. Make sense?