Talking to people you do not know!

Coffee and Connect joined forces with several other local networking groups in May to hold a joint networking event and it was a really good evening. We encouraged people to sit with people they didn’t know and looking round the room it was clear that some people found this easier than others! I am sure you will not be surprised to hear this as although we all go along to networking groups with the intention of meeting new people it can actually be quite hard to do in practice.

There are, in fact, two sides to this – first of all you need to be prepared with a few opening lines and topics of conversation for when you introduce yourself. But being at a networking event gives you a very easy topic of initial conversation. I usually say something like:

Hello I’m Mel from The Magazine Connection – I just thought I would come over and say hello as I don’t think we have met. Have you been to this networking group before? Which other groups do you go to? What is their format? …etc” and before you know it you are having a lovely chat about networking.

But of course going over and introducing yourself is only one part of the story. How you react when someone new comes over and says hello is the second half of the picture…

When you meet someone new it is natural to make a snap judgement and it is very easy to think “I have no need for that person’s business / service” and “they won’t have any need for my services” so you show very little enthusiasm for meeting them and move away as quickly as you can.

But that goes against the whole reason you network. Whilst it may be true that you may never have a direct need for this person’s services and vice versa, they may have colleagues, customers, friends, neighbours and most importantly other business contacts they have made through networking that do.

In reality it is rare to come away from a networking event having met someone for the first time who makes a definite enquiry for your service but if you stick at it and look back, maybe a few years later and see how much business has come about through these indirect networking contacts you might be surprised at the results.

The next time you go to a networking event remember that whilst you need to be prepared to go and introduce yourself to new people you also need to have an open mind about people who introduce themselves to you.

So when I come over and say “Hi I’m, Mel from The Magazine Connection” don’t think “She won’t need my services” and run a mile …Just pause for a moment and consider all the hundreds of other businesses that I know and spend some time chatting to me – I promise I really am not that scary!

This entry was posted in Networking Blog. Bookmark the permalink. Both comments and trackbacks are currently closed.