Sweaty palms, check. Nervous flutters, check. Dry mouth, check.
If you’re feeling this way, I’m going to venture to guess you’re attending a business networking event where you don’t know a single person in the room and are now standing in the corner like a wilted flower hoping…praying…someone will take pity on you and strike up a conversation.
But it doesn’t have to be that way. Entering a networking event with a little strategy can go a long way, and you don’t have to turn into one of those people that shove their business card in your face and immediately pitch their business (ick).
Here are a few fun icebreakers to help ease your nerves at your next networking event:
What brought you here today?
This is a great question to ask to break the ice AND learn a little about their own goals at the event. This also gives the person an opportunity to do a little business bragging of their own while you listen intently.
Go au naturale
Stumped for something to say? You’re likely not the only one. Walk up and introduce yourself, then tell people it’s your first time there and you don’t know anyone. People connect with authenticity.
Who do you want to meet?
At a conference I attended recently, several people came up to me that recognized me from my website. One gal in particular shouted “I’m so excited to meet you, I have been a fan of yours for years and I can’t believe I get to meet you in person.” I was so flattered!
I could tell she was nervous when she approached me, possibly wondering how I would react to her enthusiasm, but I was incredibly happy to meet a fan and even happier to get to know her.
Look at the attendee list of the event. If there’s someone you genuinely want to meet, make an effort to do so. They’ll be happy you did!
Share relevant news
If you’re attending an industry-specific event, make sure to read up on the latest news. Statistics, new industry models, or breaking stories make interesting conversation starters.
Post-event pow wow
Always make sure to get a card from the people you meet. Don’t wait for people to follow up with you, take intiative and follow up with them!
TAKE ACTION: What events do you have coming up and which strategy will you use? Post a comment below and let us know!