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Have an Extra Edge at Networking Events

By: Patricia Fripp, CSP, CPAE

Patricia Fripp CSP,CPAE is a San Francisco-based professional speaker on Change, Teamwork, Customer Service, Promoting Business, and Communication Skills. She is also a speech coach and author of Get What You Want! and Past-President of the National Speakers Association. Sign up for her free ezine

We all attend events promoted as the perfect format to make new contacts and develop potential business relationships. I never stop being amazed how many talented and well-educated people often do not know how to maximize these events.

Here are two easy ways you can make the most of networking events.

1. "Travel With Your Own PR Agent" Technique.

It's simple and cost free. Enlist a co-sales professional, friend, or fellow speaker to form a duo. My networking buddy in San Francisco is Susan RoAne, the best-selling author of How To Work A Room, Secrets of Savvy Networking, and What Do I Say Next? We attend many meetings together.

Here's what we do. When we arrive at an event, we alternately separate and come together. I'll walk up to Susan as she is talking to someone, and she'll say, "Larry, let me introduce you to Patricia Fripp. Patricia is truly one of the greatest speakers in the country." And, I will turn around and say, "Larry, I bet Susan is too modest to tell you she's the best-selling author of three books."

When you do this, just as RoAne and I do, you're saying great things about each other that you'd love your prospects to know, but modesty prevents you from telling them.

Suppose Natalie and Fred are secret partners. As Fred walks up, Natalie says to the person she's been talking to, "Jack, I'd like you to meet Fred. Fred has taught me nearly everything I know about sales and our product line. There has never been a sales contest in our company he hasn't won." Then, Fred can say, "Well, Natalie's being very generous. It's true; I've been with our company for sixteen years. But, Natalie's been here for only six months, and she's brought in more new business than any other person in the fifty-three year history of our firm, so she knows a couple of things too. I tell you, you couldn't do better than work with someone as enthusiastic as Natalie."

2. If You are Shy Volunteer Yourself a Greeter.

Much of the value of meetings can be lost if you are retiring or fundamentally shy. For many people, mingling with a room full of strangers can be an unpleasant or even scary experience. Seventy percent of the population rates themselves as at least "situationally shy," says Susan RoAne in her networking books.

I encourage you to focus on all those exciting new people and messages instead of the butterflies in your stomach offer to take a job that requires interacting with other attendees. For instance, when you wear a name tag with a ribbon that says "Greeter" you can issue name tags, sign up people for work shops, or just direct traffic: "How do you do? I'm Chris Carter. Nice to meet you. Name-tags are here. Food is there. How do you do? I'm Chris Carter. Nice to meet you." Soon you've met many new people and will get cheery nods of recognition throughout the event, making them more responsive and at ease.

A Bonus Thought About Connecting

The key to connection is conversation. The secret of conversation is to ask questions. The quality of the information you receive depends on the quality of your questions. If you have a conversation it may lead to a relationship. A relationship could lead to new business. A business relationship when nurtured can and will lead to long term success.

So What are You Waiting For????

Put on your 'Sunday best' and go meet some new people!!!

© Copyright, 2002, Patricia Fripp

Other Articles by Patricia Fripp, CSP, CPAE

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