10 Steps to Working the Room

 

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10 steps to working the room even the most confident social and outgoing among us may find the prospect of both personal and professional networking daunting at times from an early age we re taught don t talk to strangers but when we grow up we suddenly find ourselves thrust into situations be it at parties or business events where we re expected to initiate conversation with random individuals who we ve never seen before don t know and have nothing to do with not only that but we re expected to get tangible results out of such encounters we re told to `work the room without knowing what that means or understanding how to go about it know that the key to working the room at any type of networking event is to communicate and connect on a genuine level with those in the room who it would be beneficial to build a relationship with and establish as a contact within your network the best way to do this is to think about how you re going to approach the event beforehand and to prepare accordingly give some consideration to what you want to get out of the event as this will make you more focused during the event as opposed to wandering around the room aimlessly or trying to strike up forced conversations with the wrong people 1 focus on your handshake and direct eye contact make sure it s a strong and confident handshake our eye contact is crucial try also to smile as you greet your new potential contact it may sound simple but it s a very effective way to make a positive impression so make sure that you aren t offering someone a limp fish or bone crusher handshake 2 set targets before walking into the room remind yourself why you are there you are using your precious time to network and to find some useful connections so remind yourself of this fact and make sure that this isn t energy being wasted set yourself a few targets like ­ `i m going to speak to 3 new people this evening or `i m going try to learn at least 2 new pieces of information or gossip and see if you can make it happen follow us @posignition www.positionignition.com

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3 use inside contacts if you know the event organizer personally and they are around during the event why not see if they will help introduce you to some of the key people at the event having a warm introduction will work in your favour and make the process of networking easier it will also save time in terms of you trying to find specific people you don t know yourself 4 be a lone ranger if you re attending the event with people you already know well such as colleagues and friends don t stick together for the whole event talking to people you already know will lessen your chances of meeting new people or people you ve only met once before one way to separate yourself from people you know and get near to those you don t is to deliberately sit next to someone you don t know during a talk or a meal that takes place during the event 5 study the lay of the land observe the layout of the room and group formations in there before choosing who to approach look for people who are most likely to respond positively to you approaching them to talk these would be individuals standing alone who are waiting for someone to talk to open groups of 2s and 3s groups of 2s and 3s where people s bodies are facing outwards suggest that they are having a casual conversation and would be happy for others to join in 6 think about body language think about what types of postures and poses are welcoming to others versus what positions are cold and distant for example folding your arms in front of your body and looking at the floor forms a barrier between you and the other person and will give them the impression you don t want to talk to them leaving your arms unfolded and maintaining eye contact with the person however will make them feel welcome follow us @posignition www.positionignition.com

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7 break the ice don t feel like you have to say something profound breaking the ice can be as simple as commenting on the venue the talk speaker the food asking a person where they ve travelled in from or if they ve been to the event or venue before also asking what made them come along to the event can strike up good conversation and put you both on the same page in your thinking as well 8 ask open-ended questions think about questions that will open up conversation and enable someone to talk about something from a range of different angles and for as long as they want to open-ended questions are those that ask ­ who what where when and how ­ as opposed to questions that can be answered with a simple yes or no you want to be opening up discussions to explore ideas and opinions and also so that you can show your listening skills 9 be generous offer to help where you can and don t expect anything in return genuine offers for help go down well and show that you are willing to give and to offer your expertise where you can if you are able to help someone they will naturally feel indebted to you and will want to help you in any way that they can 10 go easy on the business cards be selective in who you give business cards to make each one count rather than handing them out like meaningless pamphlets it s not about volume it s about quality contacts be ready to hand out a business card if it s requested or you think that you have a made a good solid new connection but don t be desperate or forceful in giving them away similarly collect only meaningful and useful business cards only take cards from people that you want to build a fruitful business relationship with this checklist has been created by position ignition ltd one of the uk s leading career consulting companies and founders of the career ignition club please contact enquiries@positionignition.com for more information or to suggest additional resources follow us @posignition www.positionignition.com

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