A few of my friends think I’m an amazing party guest. They love how outgoing I am, how I connect people, how I manage to talk to people I’ve never met before. This used to never happen. Several years ago I read an article (just a random article online; at this point, I have no idea what it was or who wrote it) that made me grok how much a guest’s attitude can affect the host’s and other guests’ perception of the party. From that point on, I made a real effort to improve my party behavior.
Although walking up to someone you don’t know can be difficult, it’s an essential part of networking.
We’ve all heard the cliché, “Those who can, do; those who can’t, teach.” When it comes to building relationship bridges, I sometimes can and sometimes can’t. And sometimes, I fail miserably. This is a story of one of those times.
Networking means going to an event – maybe a conference or convention, maybe a cocktail party, maybe something designed specifically for networking, but something – and talking to people to find out if you can help each other. If you can, it means exchanging contact information.
The Great Networking Hoax: that just talking to someone and exchanging business cards is good networking.
To a lot of people, this is what networking is. And that’s the great hoax. Yes, this is networking, but just a very small part of it.
I’ve been the person feeling as though no one sees me, but everyone must see how everyone else is ignoring me. The person more comfortable at the edges of the room or around the food table, so I don’t feel I need to engage in conversation. And when someone came over and started talking with me, started asking questions and engaging me in actual conversation, it was a relief. I felt less awkward. I felt less like I stuck out as the proverbial loser. And so I try to find people who seem tense or uncomfortable, people who don’t seem to feel at ease jumping into a conversation or approaching a stranger and starting a conversation. Continue reading →
Dale Carnegie is the man to listen to when wanting to learn to make friends. I don’t know why schools don’t teach his principles; we’d all be a lot better off if they did. In his book, How to Win Friends and Influence People, Dale Carnegie outlined several principles for people to follow if they want to make more friends. Here are 4 of his timeless tips. Continue reading →
This is largely attitude. If you want to meet new people, and you don’t live someplace too remote for internet (since you’re reading this, I assume you don’t), you can take charge of meeting new people.
I know this sounds impossible to some people. And like a platitude to others. But it’s true. Keep in mind that, growing up, I had no idea how to meet people. None. And I was in public schools with fair sized classes. I was in Girl Scouts. I was in the city choir. I was “meeting” people all the time, but the meetings didn’t count, didn’t matter because I didn’t know how to make them stick. Continue reading →