Written by: Bryant McNamara
Look, we all aren’t social butterflies, I understand that. I myself cannot for the life of me walk confidently into EVERY situation and start talking to every person who looks interesting. Let’s face it, some situations can be intimidating.
In the face of intimidation however, there are some simple steps that I’ve used to help me start breaking the ice and make networking worth my time.
- Networking events are intimidating – not the people.
- Don’t always ask generic questions, people will be impressed if you can STAND OUT and ask them an original question that really makes them take themselves off of autopilot. For example, ask about what the person does for fun, not what they do for work (this usually comes after the casual work conversation).
- Don’t rush – take your time and listen.
- Remember names of those you talk to. Nothing says “I’m paying attention” like being able to recount the person’s name without looking at their nametag, or remembering specific parts of the conversation.
- Obvious stuff: hand shakes, smiles, eye contact. No cell phone, or have it on silent!
For those who like acronyms, here is one for the basics you should remember, SMILE!
S – Silent cell phone
M – Make eye contact
I – Identify yourself
L – Learn their name
E – Enjoy the conversation