Wednesday, December 22, 2010

How do you "Break the Ice" and move on?

Going to an event, entering that room of dark suited circles of strangers unnerves you.  This is a statement.  I know because thousands of delegates and audience members tell me so.  In fact, I promise you over 98% are somewhere between uncomfortable, down the continuum through to downright petrified.  If you feel like this you will find…you are normal.  I am abnormal because I love it.  Here’s ideas to help you.

Get there early so you won’t be facing large groups.
If hosts are present they will do their job and introduce you to others.
Armed with the fact that most people feel the same, if you see someone standing on their own make the first move.  Approach them slowly.  Stop fleetingly to ask if you may join them and then introduce yourself.  The reason you have not done it before is because of your fear of rejection.  Right?  Yes, right, but don’t worry you won’t be rejected, in fact, you will be welcomed with open arms and this person will be greatly relieved.  You would, if someone approached you.  Ask questions like, ‘where have you come from?’, ‘how are you associated with the PSA?’   Think of the event you are at and think of the numerous things you will have in common with this “stranger”.
 Try using your first name only; they normally follow suit and give their Christian name. Listen hard then use their name to build rapport.  Who knows, this stranger could be your next big client!

When it’s time to move on, suggest they accompany you to the bar, the food table or to someone you need to talk to. You are showing courtesy and respect by offering them an option. No dumping here! But don’t worry: they probably want to move on as much as you so they normally decline your offer and off you both go. If they do come with you the chances are you or your new partner will bump into an existing contact and the whole dynamics start all over again.
If you are stuck with a nervous person who knows no-one, simply say, ‘let’s go and meet some other people,’ and then look for an open twosome or trio and ask to join. You will spice up this new cocktail of people and you have successfully “parked” your friend on others.
Never approach two people standing face to face or a threesome standing in a triangle. Their body language clearly communicates they don’t want interrupting as they are having a private, confidential or even intimate conversation. You will not be welcomed…at least, not at that moment!

Will Kintish a leading UK authority on networking can be contacted on 0161 773 3727 or via www.kintish.co.uk

2 comments:

Keith said...

I like your advice about getting there early to avoid having to introduce yourself to a large group of people in one go.

That certainly helps me on such occasions.

Karl Craig-West said...

Have to say that this is so true. When I started networking I really had to step outside my comfort zone to break the ice.

These days it's usually the newbies trying to get my attention. However, I'm always very keen on being a host (even if it's not my event) since I remember how terrified I was to start with.

Thanks Will, it's great advice.

Karl