Eight ways to be memorable at networking events
5. Greet everyone. Don’t ignore people you recognize if you’ve forgotten their name. Smile and ask a provocative question like, “What is the most exciting thing that has happened to you since we last met?” or “What is your greatest recent success?” or “What are you most looking forward to?” And never be afraid to say, “The last time we met, we had such a great conversation. Will you remind me what your name is?” Best-selling author Susan RoAne tells people, “Forgive me for forgetting your name. Since I passed forty, it’s hard to remember my own.”
6. Overcome any shyness. Much of the value of networking events can be lost if you allow yourself to focus on being unassuming or fundamentally shy. For many people, mingling with a room full of strangers can be an unpleasant or even scary experience. Focus on the benefits of meeting exciting new contacts and learning new information instead of any butterflies in your stomach. Until you’ve gained confidence, a good way to do this is to offer to volunteer for a job that requires interacting with other attendees, such as volunteering to be a greeter. A greeter stands at the entrance, with a label on their name tag denoting them as “Greeter.” They have a specific job: “How do you do? I’m Chris Carter. Welcome to the Chamber mixer. Is this your first event? Please find your name tag; the food is in the next room, and our program will start in thirty minutes.” Soon you will start feeling like the host of the party. You’ve met many new people and will get cheery nods of recognition throughout the event, making it easy to stop and talk later. When you focus on helping others feel comfortable, you are not thinking about you being shy!
7. Travel with your own PR agent. This is a powerful technique that maximizes your networking. Form a duo with a professional friend. When you arrive, alternately separate and come together, talking-up each other’s strengths and expertise.
Suppose you and Fred are secret partners. As Fred walks up, you say to the person you’ve been talking to, “Jack, I’d like you to meet our sales manager Fred. Fred has taught me nearly everything I know about sales and our product line. In the sixteen years at our company, there has never been a sales contest he has not won.” Then, Fred can say, “Well, Jane is being very generous. It’s true; I’ve been with our company for sixteen years, and Jane has been here for only six months and has brought in more new business in six months than any other person in the fifty-three year history of our firm. Thank goodness I’m now the sales manager and can’t compete. She is going to overshadow the rest of us. Her ability to listen to clients’ needs gives her a competitive edge.”