Have a plan on how to approach people you don’t know at a networking event.
Your networking plan can include the following:
- Make attending the event a game such that you plan to meet at least one person you have not met before.
- Approach the greeter or host of the event and ask them to introduce you to a particular person — they will want to help you feel comfortable, for after all it’s their event and they want it to be a success.
- Approach a group of three, and in an appropriate lull in the conversation say something like: “Hi, I’m Irene Leonard, this is my first time at this event. I hope you don’t mind my joining your group.” Of course, they won’t mind if you are polite and don’t attempt to then dominate the conversation.
The reason for approaching a group of three is that they are less likely to be having a private conversation.
- Look for someone else that appears to be alone and approach them with a question like: “Hi, Irene Leonard, this is my first time attending this event what about you?”
During the networking event, use open ended questions about the event to help you break the ice.
Since most people, especially lawyers, are uncomfortable talking to people they have never meet before have a few open-ended questions in mind to help you break the ice. Thinking of your questions in advance will help you more comfortably mingle. Here are some examples:
“What brings you to this Real Property Law Section meeting?”
“How long have you been a member?”
“What have you found to be most valuable about these events?”
What questions can you come up with?
If you would like coaching on how to network, please consider contacting me to see how I can assist you.