If you really want to be , it is critical to get into as many conversations as possible when at networking events. Here are a few tips that can help you to operate at an optimum level in this area.
1. Get to the event early
Whether we are going to a networking event or a social event, our natural instinct is to be fashionable late. We feel like it is best to not be the first one to walk through the door.
To get the most out the event, ignore this thought and try to be at the event as close to the start time as possible. This will be helpful for a few reasons. First, since everybody else is following the instinct to be a little late, there is a chance you might be one of the first few people there. If this is the case, this is a really good thing as it is much easier to meet people and when the event is less crowded as there is less competition and there are less existing conversations going on.
You can also engage with new contacts as they arrive at the event. This can actually allow you to take on a host role since you are established at the event and they are walking in new and maybe a little nervous (or at least not real warmed up from a networking mode standpoint).
If you can get around and meet a lot of people during the early period of the event when the traffic is light, you will then know a good handful of people and then be able to reengage with those contacts when the event is busy. Having these new contacts spread across the event will make it easier to break into established conversations.
2. Talk to the people that are standing alone
When trying to working your way into a conversation at a networking event, the low hanging fruit is to start conversations with people that are just standing there not talking to anybody. The approach here is to walk right up and stick your hand out for a handshake and say:
Hi, how are you doing?