Do you hesitate about going to business networking events because you find it difficult to approach people? Do you end up hanging around with your colleagues, and never meet anyone new?
If you consider yourself a shy person, you’re not alone. Studies show that over 40 percent of adults feel nervous about meeting new people. One survey showed that about 75 percent of people feel uncomfortable at business and social events. Perhaps this is because our parents always told us not to talk to strangers when we were young. But we all know the importance of networking in meeting clients.
Tips for meeting clients at business networking events:
o The best secret for shy people is that most people are worried themselves about being rejected. They’re not judging you. We’ve all been rejected at one time or another, and the feeling remains for a long time. But in business situations most people are interested in connecting with others. That’s why they go to networking events.
o To increase your chances of success, look for a person standing alone. Approach that person with a smile on your face. Extend your hand, and introduce yourself. You are almost guaranteed a warm welcome because you’ll be rescuing the person from standing alone.
o If you can’t find a person standing along, look around at the different groups in the room. Take a moment to study their body language. Don’t approach two people who are engaged in conversation – they might be having a private talk.
o Find a group where the people look like they are enjoying themselves and are having a light-hearted conversation. Approach the group and try to make eye contact with someone. Once you make eye contact, people usually part to let you in. Then you can extend your hand and say: Hi, I’m (your name). If you can’t make eye contact, wait or look for another group.
o It’s fine to introduce yourself in this way. Most people have been in your shoes, or are in your shoes at that moment, and will empathize. After introducing yourself, ask about the function, and if they have been there before. If you don’t know what to say you can simply ask: How’s business?
o Remember to be sincere, smile, make eye contact and show interest by listening. Expect acceptance and you will be accepted
You are invited to use these tips to help you meet clients at business networking events.