Tuesday, October 16, 2012

How to Make the Most of Each Networking event?

An article written to help members of a meetup group to better socialize at future meetup events.

"How to Make the Most of Each Networking event?"

By Edward Yuen- August 14, 2012

First time to a meetup or networking event?
Don't know anybody?
Tired of being that person who sits at the corner while everyone is socializing away?
Your worries are over, here is a 5 pointer guide on how to make the most of each networking event.
I used to be that person, but through my many social and networking experiences as well as reading books on social interaction, here are 5 major points that have contributed most to how I interact with others.

1-                 Come early!

People arriving 15 minutes early tend to meet more people because they have that peace knowing that they have "All the time in the world". Coming early gives you the benefit of time to survey the environment, time to preview the guest list and know who to talk with and time to relax and prepare your mind for networking. Coming early also allow you to connect with other earlybirds as 'coming early' can be used as a common point to jump start a conversation. Arriving late or on time brings along this negative energy/feeling of lateness and it tends to affect your emotions and confidence limiting your socializing ability.

2-                 Introduce Yourself!

Introducing yourself to random people is part of the fun, you may never know who you may meet! Maybe the person sitting next to you may be your future soul mate or your new best friend! There's a reason why at most events I organize, we start off with a round robin introduction so everyone knows each other.

Some people say that if you don't say anything after the first 10 seconds, it gets awkward. But I tell you SAY SOMETHING even if it has been a long time, the awkward feeling only lasts 10 seconds and they probably wont remember it a minute into a conversation when it feels like any other conversation. (Stay tuned for a "How to do an icebreaker" article)

If it is someone you've met before, don't be afraid to go and say hi! When I go to networking or meetup events, I make an effort to say hi or introduce myself to people met at past events.

3-                 Remember her Name!

Don't you hate it when you met someone, introduced yourselves and got engaged into a lively conversation... but you FORGOT the person's name!!! How embarrassing it is to ask for the name again! Don't get into that awkward situation! Psychology says if you repeat something over and over again enough times, it goes into your long term memory storage. So after introduction, try to remember and incorporate the person's name into the next few phrases. eg. "Nice meeting you Edward" "So Edward, can you tell me where you are from?" "Very Fascinating... Edward." But don't over do it as it may get a little awkward. Consider using names instead of pronouns, people are more attentive and respond positively when they hear their name or the name of someone they know.

4-                 Complement Someone with Sincerity!

I personally believe in adding value to people no matter how small it is, if someone is doing something great like holding the door for you, thank him for it. If you see a gal wearing a beautiful dress, compliment her on it "Nice dress, did you get it at XYZ store?". Not only you are encouraging them but you are also building that social connection with them. There used to be a time where people complemented honestly to each other about who they are and what they are doing, let's bring back that positive energy and attitude back. So next time you are at the restaurant and the waitress brings food over to you, thank her, or maybe complement a fellow attendee that unique new hat he is wearing. But do be honest about it because when you flatter instead of being honest... it really shows.

5-                 Smile! 

Humans and animals respond more positively to smiles. Research shows that when a person is smiling, the brain of the other person tend to mimic the smile and that smile in turn generate brain stimulant that is equivalent as receiving enjoying 2000 bars of chocolate! So if you want your new friend receive the good feeling of lots of chocolate (without the calories) from meeting you, smile!

There you have it, 5 easy pointers on how to improve your people skills. Work on those every time you go to a meetup event and you will be popular in no time! See you at the next event!

I leave you with an inspiring quote by Anatole France: "To accomplish great things, we must not only act, but also dream, but also believe."

Happy socializing,

Edward Yuen
Assistant Organizer- PR and membership | Extremely Shy Meetup

For a large part of his life, Edward has been sitting at the sidelines observing his more charismatic peers basking in the spotlight. Ever since his 'Great Encounter' and the discovery of his 'Anchor', Edward has found strength and a new direction to overcome his fears of interacting with people in a social setting and establishing that "change is possible" through true wisdom and perseverance.

No comments:

Post a Comment