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Serious and consistent networking is one of the best ways to jumpstart your client base very quickly and to continually bring new prospects and referrals into your pipeline. But, admit it, it’s sometimes very intimidating (if not downright frightening) to network alone, even for an extrovert like me.
There are a few different types of professional networking events, one of them being the "free-for-all." That’s the kind of networking where you’re basically thrust into a roomful of people who seemingly know each other and are supposed to introduce yourself. Ouch! That’s not always easy, even if you feel like a born networker.
A tactic I use when I’m feeling really overwhelmed by a roomful of people I don’t know is that I pretend it’s my own party. That’s right, as if I’m the one who organized the shin-dig in the first place.
If you know me personally, you already know that I’m a pretty social person and I LOVE to entertain. That being said, I’ve thrown hundreds of parties since my early twenties and I’ve had many occasions to feel what it feels like to be a host.
- is in control of the situation
- is confident
- knows most everybody
- has the right to ask if they don’t know you
In throwing cocktail parties and barbecues over the years, I’ve experienced more than a few times someone in my kitchen or living room that I didn’t know, usually a guest of one of my guests. I usually feel really comfortable going up to that person and saying, "Hi, I’m Fabienne. We haven’t met yet. What’s your name? Who did you come with tonight?" with a smile. I used to call this my ‘Ultimate Icebreaker,’ especially when I was single. 🙂
Taking that as a cue, when I get slightly shy in a large overwhelming networking situation, I shift my way of thinking about the event and pretend it’s my OWN party. Then I do the same thing, using my ‘Ultimate Icebreaker.’ It always works and I’m never nervous once I get started!
The best part of it is, sometimes, the person I walked up to and started the conversation with often DOES feel like it’s my party, or at least that I’m really confident. I guess that’s not a bad thing for attracting clients.
Pretend it’s YOUR party and that will somehow make it much more OK for you to approach strangers at a networking group. Then, use my Ultimate Icebreaker:
"Hi, I’m so-and-so. We haven’t met yet. What’s your name? Who did you come with tonight?" with a smile.
If you’re not sure where to start with networking to get clients in the first place, check out The Secrets of Master Networkers Manual™. Step by step, I take you through everything you need to do to get clients from networking, and pull clients and referrals in easily and consistently. Get it today at www.SecretsofNetworkers.com.