Are you a good networker? Do you stand and wait till other guys approach you? Or you squeeze between small talking islands, searching for an eye contact with somebody?
As a newcomer to the US I found here well-organized opportunities for networking, for e.g. Internations group. It’s part of my job to observe people, and I love it.
I just started talking to one lady, her British English sounded like a music for me. Ok, I just love Britain..) Suddenly, our “small talking musical island” was ramed by an “icebreaker”. Definetly, the icebreaker-person was more interested with my interlocutress, not with me. My hand hung in the air with my business card. I felt somehow stupid. The “icebreaker” gave her business card to my dialogue-parnter, smiled at me. I saw in her eyes instant doubts – “is it worth to talk to her”, “should I give her my card…” etc.
Remember, this is my job to observe people. I am well trained to see facial/body language and emotions. It was definitely contempt on the “icebreaker’s” face.
Later, I noticed how this person used the same icebreaking strategy with other people.
I believe in “warm contacts”. Networking is not about collecting the biggest amount of business cards. I have several networking rules, which work for me, and hope, they will work for you too.
1) Make eye contact before icebreaking. I used to dance tango. There is a rule, before inviting a lady to dance, experienced tangero tries to find her eyes. If she looks at him, he approaches her, and they go dancing. Very polite and elegant.
2) Be sincere, “warm” the contact, ask questions. People forget, how clever you are, but they will never forget how you make them feel. If after the meeting you remember about the person – the name, hobby, something personal – then it may really work for you in different ways. For e.g., I found the person who is an expert in Africa travelling, though he is a banker. His advice was Botsvana)).
3) If people do not have cards, I ask them to write down their name in my small notebook. The next day I’ll find them on LinkedIn or FB, if they prefer it.
4) If I feel that I would like to move on and talk to somebody else, I just sincerely say the name of my dialogue-partner, as him/her to escuse me, tell that I want to talk to…Then I say big thank you. I feel ok, my dialogue-partner feels ok.
5) If I am the part of the “talking island”, and I see, that another person is standing nearby and waiting for our attention, I physically move a littel bit, inviting him/her to our circle without words. People like it. Remember the rule №2 – people remember, how you make them feel…
p.s. I want to say thank you for my “icebereaker-person” for the idea of this article.))