Another thing I hear a lot about from clients and colleagues is the reluctance and resistance to going to networking and other events. They either don’t go at all, or if they do go, it is a super human effort to do so, and once they arrive, they’re really uncomfortable.
This discomfort prevents making genuine connections with others and absolutely zero contacts that could lead to new business.
If you see yourself in this scenario, you can do something about it – you can create your own comfort by bringing a friend or colleague with you. That way, you’ll know at least one other person, and have someone to touch base with throughout the event. This person becomes your structure and helps you be at your best – connected, engaged and articulate.
By having a structure of support, we are more readily able to flow with all that meeting and greeting of new people.
You may be saying to yourself, “Okay, that’s great but what if I don’t have a friend or colleague to bring with me?” First, you probably do have someone in your life who would love to join you. It may not be your closest friend, but someone in your expanded circle would likely jump at the chance, because she’s challenged by these events in the same way you are.
Second, if you really can’t find anyone to go with you, once you are there, create a new friend by connecting with the first person you talk with.
When you walk through the door, take a look around the room and ask yourself, “Who would be best person to connect with first?” Then, walk over to that person with a warm, inviting smile on your face. (Watch yourself here, be sure your smile is not a big, maniacal grin that says “I’m comin’ to getcha”, but a pleasant, open smile).
As you strike up a conversation, do your best to talk about anything BUT work, business or career – at first. Instead, ask them about their life, where they live, their kids, what they do for fun, what makes them happy, etc. Be sure you share about yourself, too, as you would in any new encounter.
At this point, the conversation will naturally flow and you will have made a solid connection with someone who may end up being a great friend, client or supporter. Then for the rest of the event, you’ll have your new friend there, your touchstone who helps you shine.
Give this one a try, it’s a different way to deal with events and make them work for you. And you may even have fun, too!