Before you pop champagne corks into your faces, spray champagne on your
“friends,” smoke your fine Cuban cigars, and celebrate the New Year, here are
some tips on how to work any room like “Dr. Fly.”
Your relationships with others will define your success. Everything in life we
accomplish with or through other people. I’ll help you make sure you don’t mess
it all up. Well, at least not too much.
Let us begin…
After speaking with hundreds of very successful entrepreneurs, there are better
places to network and meet people. The optimal places to go are charity and
nonprofit organizations. That’s the best place to meet people personally and
What do you do when you go to the events? Here is an overall plan and tips you
may consider using.
First, psych yourself up before you go. You can use affirmations or anything that
gets yourself in the right state of mind. You might also visualize that you are
going to an event to meet old friends that you haven’t seen in a while. This can
loosen you up and help reduce any social anxiety.
Start working a room as soon as you arrive. Talk to the valet and the doorman.
These are great people for you to get to know. They know what’s going on, they
can help you out, and they’re underappreciated. This also gets you warmed up
and keeps your energy high. Otherwise, you can start to get self-conscious and
nervous, and then social anxiety really kicks in. Odds are, the longer you wait,
the more unlikely you will be to engage others.
Start right away by asking the doorman what’s up or tell him your name and ask
him his name. Just say, “How’s everything going?” Depending on where you are,
you can greet the hostess or maître d’ next. It’s important to keep engaging
people, even if you just say hi. You can stop and speak with them briefly or just
say something and walk on by.
If you’re at a charity, nonprofit, or networking event, someone at the door will be
checking people in. Stop and make sure your name’s on the list and on their
email list so you can get other invites.
Once you get into a room full of people, start making your way toward the bar, if
there is one, or wherever it’s natural for people to congregate. Doing this keeps
you in the moment and you don’t have time for any social anxiety to come up
because you will be focused on talking to people.
Arriving at the bar is a good time to start a conversation. You can talk to the
bartender or one of the people on either side of you. I always like to learn the
bartender’s name. Then when you come back, you can greet him and he will say
your name back. People around you will think you are a VIP because he or she
knows your name, and they will greet you like an old friend. Also, many
bartenders and event staff eventually move on to other places, so you’ll have
connections in many bars, restaurants, and other places in your city.
The bar is also a comfortable place to start conversations because you have a
real reason to be there. You are ordering a drink (or water) and waiting for the
bartender. If there is no bar, just go wherever the food and beverages are.
So what do you say to people around you? Here are a few ways to start
- “How’s everything?”
- “What do you have on the agenda this week/weekend?”
- “Are you a member of this organization?” If so, ask them about their favorite events or volunteer roles.
- “I’m really interested in attending some great events and joining some other organizations. Do you have any recommendations?” This question allows you get valuable information. Also, people like to be thought of as experts, and asking opinion questions are a good way to build initial rapport.
- Soon, you’ll have the option to exchange information with them. Simply offer, “Let’s exchange contact information and stay in touch about upcoming events.” Or “I am gathering a list of events. Let’s exchange information and I’ll send them your way.” Usually, I hand them my phone and they can put the information in faster and also their last name.
- This process works because 99% of people talk rather than listen. You’re going to stand out by asking questions about the other person first and taking a genuine interest. A great byproduct is that you leave the conversation with a little mystery around you—people are intrigued to learn more about you.
A conversation is simple: start it, engage the other person and build rapport,
keep it going for few minutes, and then leave them thinking you are great person
that they want to get to know better. It really just boils down to that.
Here are couple more important things to keep in mind…
Remember, your confidence level and how you deliver information greatly
outweighs what you say. A common mistake people make is placing too much
importance on what to say. This can make someone sound scripted.
Nonverbal cues, body language, and physical positioning all impact how we are
perceived by others. You have one opportunity to make a first impression and
build strong rapport when you meet someone. You do not have time to waste in
your face-to-face interactions. You need to quickly understand what someone
else is really feeling and thinking and how you can influence them—something
you have control over if you have control over your body language, nonverbal
cues, and expressions.
Also, don’t talk to people for more than five minutes at a time. Why? Here are a
- You will meet more people and therefore practice your social skills. Social skills are learned behaviors, so the more you practice, the better you will get.
- You can worry less about what to talk about because you can ask a few quick questions and move on.
- You don’t invest so much time in people that you end up missing out on other people in the room that may be better suited for you.
Finally if your conversation is around business, make sure to focus on what you
can do to help the other person. Since most people are concerned with their own
personal gain, you’ll quickly stand out. Start asking them questions about what
they need, and you will quickly find out how you can help them. Albert Einstein
once said, “Strive not to be a person of success, but a person of value.”
You can ask them, “What current challenges are you dealing with in your job (or
company)?” Finally say, “How can I help you?” or “What can I do this minute to
help you?” Then, write yourself a quick note about what is it, exchange contact
information, and follow up within 24 hours. You might not be able to help them or
provide them with a contact. Just tell them you tried—it will go a long way. I’d
also come up with another potential way you could help them and see if that is of
So it’s time to take action in 2015, and make it your best year ever. Have a great
rest of your holiday season, and drink your fine whiskey and eggnog.
Wealth, on Amazon.
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