I am by no means an expert on approaching social events perfectly. I do, however, have some beliefs based off experiences I’ve had. My main goal for you (the reader) is to remember to be confident, positive and memorable. When you go to a networking event, a party that you know very few people at or even a new job, I would highly recommend going in with these seven things:
1. Read the news for the day
It’s important to know what’s going on in your area as well as everything around you. It’s even better when you have a few topics to bring up when starting conversations; to break the ice at events. Avoid politics! Arriving prepared will give you a lot of confidence when bringing up topics, as your audience will look at you as someone with knowledge.
2. Know your audience
To follow-up on point number one. If you are going to an event that you know will have a majority of an audience specific to something/someone, I would recommend looking into news in that realm. Let’s say you are going to a MeetUp organized by Tech Entrepreneurs. It would be worth your time to skim TechCrunch or any news outlet that covers start-up news and trends in order to have some material to discuss.
As I mentioned earlier, you will impress your audience by being informed. You can also expect a boost to your confidence when people say, “Oh, I didn’t know that!”
3. Actively listen!
“We have two ears and one mouth, so we should listen more than we say.” -Zeno of Cilium There are two key things that will reward you for listening. One, it will help you learn about the person you are meeting for the first time. Two, this will help create different avenues to take the conversation. It might even help you realize your guys’ lives have crossed paths in the past, or you know the same people.
4. #2 and #3 will help with segues!
This one is easy; segues are they key to all success (Shout to DJ Khaled). But really, you read the news and are up-to-date on the things going on in the world; you will have plenty of topics to spark more conversations that will help you become more memorable to these new acquaintances.
5. Don’t be afraid to ask for someone's name, again
I know I do it a lot. Shortly after I meet someone, I turn to who I’m with and ask, “Hey, what was the person’s name we just met?” I usually feel terrible for forgetting their name and have no confidence in asking again. I’ve realized there are two things to highlight from asking them again: When someone asks you for your name again, you tell them right? No hesitation at all, no judgment.
So, remember that when you do forget someone's name. The other is that it gives the impression to that person that you have a genuine reason to remember their name.
There is a lot of psychological benefits from smiling. When you smile it affects two audiences: you and the person(s) in front of you. Believe it or not, smiling will help your blood pressure lower, and helps others mirror you, which brings happiness to others. There will be plenty people caught up in the moment, and are not relaxed as they meet people for the first time. Smiling will project confidence and a calmness to you that will be remembered for the future.
7. Welcoming Body Language
Similar to six, a welcoming body language not only attracts more people to want to get to know you, but it also helps “break the ice” as you start meeting more and more people. The psychological benefits of this is similar again to six as it creates a mirror to others.
For this specific topic here is one example: I’ve noticed many people will forget others want to join in on the circle of discussion during one of these networking events. When you are keeping body language in mind, it reminds you to make sure you open that circle of discussion up to someone who looks interested in joining.
Bringing It In
I hope you can take a few of these, if not all, and be able to have a helpful approach to your next event. The three biggest things to remember: How can I be confident, positive, and memorable? The rest will fall in place.
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