Numerous couples are talking to each other, a few people are talking in groups, and you’re standing with several people on the sidelines look around for someone to talk to, hoping someone will make the first move so you don’t have to.
But don’t worry. Networking in a group can be easy. Here are five important steps to take to make your first group event a success:
- You only have to meet a few people. You’re not there to meet everyone in the room, or even half of them. If you can meet four people during the entire event, you’re doing pretty well.
- Ask basic questions: What’s your name? What do you do? What made you get into that? Do you still have all your fingers? (Just checking to see if you’re still reading.) Keep a few infrequently asked questions in your pocket, in case the conversation slows down, but otherwise stick with the standards.
- Listen more than you talk. The key to being seen as a great conversationalist is to listen more, and talk less. Let them do most of the talking.
- Give out business cards only when asked. The goal is not to see how many business cards you can get rid of. Rather, you want to see how many quality contacts — people you want to meet with again — you can make. Giving away business cards is not a measure of networking success.
- Schedule a time to meet for coffee or lunch. You’re not going to strike up a lifelong friendship in 10 minutes, so don’t try. Rather, just get an idea about whether you want to meet this person later for an hour. If you like them, invite them for coffee, and get to know them better. That’s your time to develop that deeper relationship.