Get This Party Started

In recent years, business strategy has shifted from a focus on advertising and marketing to an emphasis on networking. Establishing personal relationships is now the fashionable key to securing new business and building a recognizable and respected brand.

For the not-so-gregarious or even shy types, however, the prospect of attending networking groups and mixers can be daunting. Even for the most seasoned minglers, sometimes at networking events it’s hard to break the ice or approach strangers randomly to start a conversation. If you get stuck or feel like you are just not in the mood, try this: look around the room and “notice” someone. Whether they jump out at you because they have a great hair cut, a nice smile, a handsome suit, a distinguished air, whatever it may be. Once you’ve noticed it, walk up to that person and tell them what you noticed that you liked. “That’s a really great jacket.” Invariably, they say “Thank you” and you can ask the natural follow-up questions like “where did you get it?” Once you’ve opened the door and put them at ease, simply introduce yourself. You’ve made a new connection with a potential client, colleague, or service provider, and they’re first impression of you is a positive one.

Be brave and give it a try the next time you’re cringing in the corner or hovering over the hors d’oeuvres. You’ll be surprised at how quickly your networking skills will improve, and you’ve made the world a better place by paying a compliment.

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