So, why would you need 10 networking introductions? Because you’ve been there. We all have. It’s the pre-event networking 30 minutes, and you only know one other co-worker and the bartender, but he doesn’t count because you just met him two minutes ago. The question is, do you stay with your co-worker, sit at the bar, or talk to a stranger? Okay, so you know you should talk to a stranger, right? However, how do you introduce yourself? Do you barge into a conversation, and isn’t that rude? You could stay close to your teammate and the bartender and hope someone introduces themselves to you OR you could try one or two of these 10 networking introductions.
Breaking the Ice with 10 Networking Introductions
1. How can I help you?
Asking how you can help someone is my go to networking intro. It may begin as “What brought you to this event?” and could progress to “Who would you like to meet?” but it usually opens a conversation.
2. Give-it-away, Give-it-away, Give-it-away-now
I was at an event where one of the speakers went around the room handing out a square aluminum bottle opener, which held his contact information. It was his business card, but the best thing he did was use it to open up conversations with total strangers. Brilliant. Beyond the Business Card
3. Start with a Joke
It doesn’t need to be said, but I will; only share non-offensive, appropriate humor. Humor that fits the event is best. For example, if you’re at a marketing convention try this, “How many Marketers does it take to screw in a light bulb? None, they’ve automated it.” — Hubspot: 10 Cheesy Marketing Jokes.
4. Ask for an Introduction
Start by asking your friends and co-workers who they know. After you’ve begun a conversation with a new acquaintance, ask who they came with. “So you came with your team? I’d love to meet them.”
What’s more appealing than someone who’ll listen to what you have to share at a networking event? Be that person. Be the listener.
Pick a couple of ways to introduce yourself and then practice them. Say them out loud, record yourself, ask a teammate to role play, and attend several events, virtual or in person, to try them out. You’ll improve and become more comfortable.
7. Ask for Advice
Approach an individual or group. Introduce yourself and then ask for advice. It could be a question about the presentation if there was one. It could be about the event group, or it could be about your industry. Regardless, asking for help lets others share their knowledge, which is a great way to begin a conversation, and you may learn something.
8. Be Inviting
Be someone you’d want to chat with. Smile, make eye contact, and avoid defensive body language. Don’t cross your arms in front of you, hide behind furniture, or sit at the bar all night.
9. Compliment Someone
If there was a presentation, compliment the presenter. Walk up to a group and say, “You look like you’re having the most fun here, may join the conversation?” You could tell someone how much you appreciate their product or service. CAUTION: Stay away from compliments that could be considered invasive or forward.
10. Make it Fun
I’m an extrovert. I’m not shy. I make networking look easy, but it’s not, and it’s not always easy for me. I’ve worked hard at making it look easy. I’ve practiced, and improved my networking skills, and so can you, and when you do it’s fun.
Here’s a Challenge for You
Pick two of the 10 introductions listed above, practice them, and then attend at least three events with networking opportunities in the next 30 days. If you can’t find three events, set up a virtual or in person meet for coffee. Leave us a comment, and share how it went. Thank you.
How Can I Help You?
I’d always considered myself an effective networker. I’m friendly, easy to talk to, and I’ve never met a stranger. However, none of that makes me a good networker – it makes me outgoing. If I wanted to be the most effective networker I could be, I needed a plan. That’s how my networking workbook, Help Networking started.
I like to help people and organizations, but I have three criteria I consider before taking an assignment – I believe in what the organization stands for, I know I can help, and it looks like fun. If you have any questions, Contact Me.
So, does your business have a management training plan? Because, if not, many organizations, large and small, use my book, The New Manager’s Workbook, a crash course in effective management, as the basis for their leadership development program. Check it out.