Nervous about meeting new people? Don’t know what to say in an unfamiliar situation?
Everyone gets nervous sometimes. Remember that you are at an event, a meeting, or a conference for the same reason everyone else is there — learn something new, meet someone new, get referrals, mix and mingle.
GO WITH A BUDDY – If you are really deathly afraid of walking into a room alone, going with a colleague, a buddy, a friend, or a “wing man” if you will might help. They can introduce you to people; you can introduce them to people.
FIND PEOPLE ALONE AND APPROACH THEM – There are other people like you at this event. Find someone standing alone with a drink in hand, staring into space. Approach them with a hi, hello, my name is and I do such and such. What do you do? Don’ try to break into a group that looks like it is having fun. Do approach two people standing open and welcoming.
HONE YOUR PITCH – Your 30-90 second pitch is your opener for the event. “Hi I’m Alice and I design websites. Recently I created a site for a non-profit association that increased their hit rate by 20%. I’m a grad of XYZ University.” What do you do?
ASK QUESTIONS and LISTEN – no one likes a self-congratulating boor. Gently asking questions makes the other person feel more comfortable and you get to know them. Questions might include, what do you do for a living? Why did you come here tonight? What do you like to do for fun? When you listen you come across as more genuine and, guess what, you actually learn more about the other person. Find out what you may have in common.
Gently extricate yourself from a conversation by saying it was a pleasure meeting you. May I have your business card? Or, I would like to get a bite to eat. Or, I would like to meet some more people.