Although social media is making connections with strangers online easier, there is still a need to make personal connections out in the real world. Attending a business networking event is the perfect way to become skilled at introducing yourself to other people face-to-face. Effective networking is about establishing, mutually beneficial relationships with other people. When it’s done well, networking will give you a competitive edge throughout every stage of your career. Below we have compiled some strategies to help your networking event introductions work smoothly.
When you choose to approach new people, it helps to have a subtle icebreaker beyond the typical elevator pitch. Subtle icebreakers allow you the right moment to introduce yourself and engage in a flowing conversation without being too forceful or overbearing.
Before approaching someone, double-check that you aren’t interrupting them if they are conversing with someone else, this helps to engage with them effectively. It helps when the first words out of your mouth are about how you and the person are connected. Unfortunately, that is not always possible, so here are some other icebreaker ideas on what to say.
Networking Event Introductions Part 1:
Use a recent event
With different meetings and events happening, you’ll likely see familiar faces. Use the functions as a chance of becoming a conversation.
Example: “Didn’t I see you at (name of the event)?” and then follow it up with something that you liked about that event and ask for the person’s opinion.
This works well because it points out something that you have in common and allows them to share their thoughts.
Networking Event Introductions Part 2:
Using food can be a great icebreaker
Events often include food, and if you ever find yourself in a buffet line with someone that you’d like to meet, you can use the food to your advantage. Stating something such as “this food looks great, I don’t know which to choose” can be a very subtle and efficient way to get a conversation flowing.
This kind of comment allows the other person to give suggestions and advice.
Networking Event Introductions Part 3:
Have Stories Ready
When you’re in a group of people, it’s helpful to have a few real-life stories to pull from when an opportunity presents itself. For instance, if something happens with the group that reminds you of something else you can state, “That reminds me of ….” and then fill in with a similar story that relates to the context.
This allows you to chime in without being out of place. It also allows you to slip in information about yourself that can lead to further questions and conversations.
Networking Event Introductions Part 4:
Make Personal Connections
If you and the person that you would like to meet are both at an event hosted by a mutual party, you can use that connection to help you to engage in conversation. Introduce yourself by explaining how you know the host and how long you have known them, and then asking them how they met the host.
Now you’ll both be talking about social connections with the host and be able to engage in further conversation by asking questions to help keep the conversation flowing.
At your next networking event, try one of these icebreakers to see which one works best for you and the different situations.