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Tip Of The Day #96 - Going Post-It Over Networking

Barbara Steckly

Barbara Steckly

Going Post-It Over Networking

Allow me to refresh your memory of the term, “Who Luck”, coined by leadership expert, Jim Collins, which refers to the happy circumstance of finding just the right connection you happen to need, by being in the right place, at the right time.

So… here you are. Having gathered your courage, and that last ounce of strength after a long, overwhelming workday, you’ve actually made it to the networking event. What now?

It’s bad form to stand by the entrance, ready to pounce on potential connections like a lion attacking a wounded gazelle. Hiding in the corner behind a plate of food won’t win you any popularity contests either. How then to make the best of your experience?

Vanessa Van Edwards, author of Captivate: The Science of Succeeding with People suggests that you want to make a warm approach when meeting a stranger for the first time, by sending off what she calls “Friend Signals”, such as direct eye contact, visible hands ready for the shake, and open body language, as opposed to crossed arms.

Next, having aced your “Warm-up”, you’re now ready to speak to your new “friend”. According to Van Edwards, the best “opener” as she terms it, is also the most basic, a tried and true opening line like, ‘Hi, how are you?’

Step #3 is The Shake, quite an important act in the “meeting ritual” because the moment your skin touches someone else’s, you both release certain chemicals that help you bond.

Now it’s time to introduce yourself, and start building rapport. Begin with who you are and how you’ve arrived, and then bounce the ball to their court. “This is my first time at this conference, how about you?” Most people respond readily, and lo and behold, you’re having a conversation with a new contact who could turn into the perfect client or collaborator.

Using food and drink as an opener is quite effective as an easy way in. Sitting at the bar is a relaxed way to make conversation with the people who come and go. Sidling up to the buffet line to chit-chat also puts you in contact with countless people.

Take small amounts of food so you can return a few times, or don’t bother to eat at all, but rather just keep others company in the lengthy lineups. They’ll be grateful you made the waiting pass more enjoyably for them, especially if you ask interesting, intelligent questions that spark an emotion in them, or, in other words, release the pleasure-producing chemical, dopamine, in their brain. “What was the most exciting event that happened to you this week? Who is the best speaker that you have ever heard?

Researchers have actually found that when dopamine is released in the brain, it creates a “mental Post-it note”, in essence, making you someone they’ll not soon forget.

So why stop at one “mental Post-it”? Next networking event, challenge yourself to get out there and paper the room!

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