“You always talk about being memorable. But how do I do that at a large networking event?” my client asked me.
We were working on his elevator speech during one of our presentation skills coaching sessions and he said that he found it hard to stand out in a room filled with people.
“There are lots of ways,” I said. “It all depends on your personality and your comfort level in approaching strangers. The key is to play to your strengths.”
I told my client about a networking event that my friend and I attended on Mardi Gras. My friend is very outgoing and convivial. There are no strangers in his life; only friends he hasn’t made yet. Not only does he know how to work a room, he is genuinely interested in everyone he meets. Beyond that, he knows how to make a lasting impression. Because it was Mardi Gras, he wore a couple of strands of beads. It was not only a great way for people to remember him, but it was a great conversation starter. He played to his strengths and achieved networking success.
What if You’re Shy?
I am a very different type of networker. I am not nearly as outgoing as my friend. I will never get around to speaking to everyone in a room. Rather, I will focus on meeting a handful of people. I will likely have in-depth conversations with those people. As a result, I usually come away with very strong connections. My buzz comes from a handful of people who say, “Wow. I really liked her. Did you meet her? No? Oh, that’s a shame. She’s really great at what she does.” That’s how I play to my strengths to achieve networking success.
Still Not Sure What to Do?
If the idea of going up to strangers is terrifying to you, try going to an event with someone you know. It’s especially helpful if your friend is really outgoing and memorable like mine. Think of him as your networking wingman. Watch what he does. Allow him to introduce you to people. Then as the event wears on, fly solo. Force yourself to go up to others. Like anything else, networking requires practice. The more you do it, the better you’ll get. And in no time at all you’ll achieve networking success.
If you would like more presentation tips, check out our other presentation skills blogs. And if you’re interested in learning more about our executive presentation skills coaching offerings, please contact us. We would be delighted to customize a program that fits your exact needs.
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