4. Interrupt an existing conversation
An important thing to be aware of is that the real high value targets at a networking event will likely be in existing conversation most of the time. The only way to get with them is to time it just right where they are alone, which is very difficult, or interrupt an existing conversation.
Interrupting a conversation is fairly tough and uncomfortable to do. But here is step-by-step process to make it not only easier, but also remove all of the rudeness from the interrupt.
Before we get to the process, let me just point out a couple of things about the people that you are going to interrupt:
- They likely do not know each other so it is not some special moment
- They are likely not talking about anything private, important or serious
- They are probably in the middle of some sort of explanation or thought at the time when you want to walk up
- They likely do not have any opinion of who you are (do not see you as below or above them in terms of status at the event)
To sum that up, your challenge here is a timing one in terms of being slightly late or a little early. This not an issue of interrupting something that is important, or trying to break into an exclusive circle or group.
If you would have walked up at the beginning or end of the conversation, you could slide right in. The issue here is that you cant just walk around trying to time it right. In order to get into more conversations, and into the right conversations, sometimes you will have to break your way into existing networking conversations.
Step 1 Apology and explanation
Walk right up to the group and say this:
Hey guys, I am sorry to interrupt. I am just trying to meet most of the people here and just wanted to introduce myself to you all real quick.
This works best with groups of two. If the group is larger than two, you can approach one person in the group that appears to not be as active in the existing conversation and try to talk to them directly without interrupting the main group discussion.
Step 3 Introduction
Try to get a quick introduction exchange to both parties in the group.
To the contact closest to you: