I found this article from the Wall Street Journal earlier this week. While it’s definitely more dedicated to business/sales types (and not the engaged, others-centered types that I prefer to engage with). Just a quick post, but wanted to share the food for thought!
My favorite content in this article can definitely be found under the “do” sidebar, about half way down the page. It highlights DO’s and DONT’s in these types of situations.
First, it mentions to come prepared with topics to talk about. This is absolutely, positively so true! Especially in a situation where there will be people that you know, people that you don’t, and people that you know ABOUT, it’s important to do your research. Knowing a little bit of background on the other person before you actually meet them can make them feel like a million bucks – and it’s very likely that they will remember you, too!
The third “DO” says “look for opportunities to help others with information or introductions.” One of my many goals when it comes to situations where I don’t know others and others don’t know others is to connect them, too. Quite frankly, if I was super-human I’d love to meaningfully connect with every single person in the room. Unfortunately that’s not possible.
However, over the years I’ve realized that I could also spread the wealth. So if there’s a project on one side of the room that’s booming and an interest on the other side of the room that aligns – I will do everything I can to connect those two people. I love seeing those relationships and opportunities build.
And finally, from a cleanliness/overall “maximizing opportunity for conversation and introduction perspective,” the fourth point mentions that you should “keep at least one hand free of snacks and drinks so you can shake hands.” ESPECIALLY if there are hors d’oeuvres that may make your hands a bit messy. A similar bit for times when you’re sitting down and potentially networking? 2 things actually. 1. Don’t order something edible with you hands – do something like a salad, not to look pretty, but to keep your hands and face much more clean than a burger or a rack of ribs might. And, 2., Don’t take a bite of food into your mouth larger than you won’t be able to finish in just a few seconds. You may eat more “rapidly” but you’ll always be available to answer a question or chime in a funny joke.
To be honest, I’m bad at that one. Especially if the food is great. I’m just chewing and intently nodding some of the time! :)
Anyways, those are my $0.40. Check out the article and if you like it, let me know which pieces stand out to you, too! Thanks for reading!