Susan Emmer, the founder of Silicon Beach Marketing (http://siliconbeachmarketing.com), talks about working a room and being a successful networker. Networking is the key to gaining more people in your world of business.
- Create a plan prior to the event
- Research the individuals you want to meet beforehand
- Engaging a host or panelist before the event is the ideal time
- Avoid blatant self-promotion
- Respectfully request contact info and follow up promptly
In this age of doing business, everybody has to be a good networker and part of that is the ability to work a room. And there are couples of tips that I can give you that will really help you have the confident to be a successful networker.
So the first thing you need to do is plan your goals in advance. Your goals might be to meet three new people. It might be to get two new business leads. It might be to meet one of the panelists but really have that down in your mind first what you want to accomplish before you walk through that door.
Secondly, I would suggest to research the prospects and panels beforehand. Nothing is more flattering than if you go up to a panelist and say “You know, I just read your blog post and I think it is great,” or “I have these comments,” or “I agree with you about this.” It is very flattering and believe me, they will remember you.
I would also recommend arrive early because sometimes that is actually the best chance you have of engaging either the host or the panelist. They are not yet in the frame of mind that they are focused on what they are going to say and if you get there early, you can get in front of them where after the event, normally people rush the stage and you’re just not going to have the chance so definitely arrive early.
One of the biggest mistakes I see people making is blatant self - promotion. No one likes it when people are to ‘salesy’ or in your face. The best approach is to go up to your host or panelist and tell them how you can help them or offer to help them. They will remember you this way.
Also, respectfully request their contact information. Ask for their card or their e-mail address and say you are going to follow up with them promptly because no one wants to be cornered with someone that is talking about themselves for ten minutes. They are also there to meet as many people as possible. So respect that and they’ll respect you more for that.
So in conclusion, working a room is really a skill, but a skill that you can learn. And a lot of it is being prepared in advance, have confidence, and really do your research beforehand and you will find that you will really begin to actually enjoy networking.