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Talks from the Hart-Networking Part 2

June 1, 2016

networking

So I last spoke about networking. Networking is a plus from many perspectives, including:

  • Get in the driver’s seat–you control your networking and what events you want to attend.
  • Raise your profile externally-you want to be known in your industry.
  • Raise your profile internally- management love it when you network!
  • Develop your business.
  • You never know who- you never know who you will meet. It could be a great new contact or friend.
  • Learn something.
  • Have a good time.

Most importantly you may have one of those Ahhhhaaaa moments. This is the moment when your potential client or employer tells you about a problem or situation with which you can help.  However, before you can get to the Ahhhhaaaa moment you have to break the ice and have a strategy. Take a look at these icebreakers and strategies.

“What’s your connection to the event?” This question can uncover mutual contacts and usually leads to a more robust answer than if you asked the typical “Have you been to this event before?”

“What’s keeping you busy when you’re not at events like this or at work?”This question gives the encouragement necessary for the person to share his/her passions and outside interests. It is an excellent way to add some enthusiasm into a conversation that has hit a lull, especially if he/she would prefer to be doing that activity at that moment.

“Are you getting away this summer?” This question can lead to conversations about family, reveal special interests and, if you like talking about travel, it’s a sure-fire way to keep a conversation interesting.

Go Fishing At The Food Table

While waiting in line for the food, start chatting up the person next to you. This is a great opportunity to get a conversation started because you already have something in common: the food. Everyone is thinking the same thing, What am I going to try? What looks good?

So, instead of just standing there in silence, start a conversation. Here are a few conversation starters for this situation:

  • “Oh man, everything looks so good… I’m not sure what to get! What are you thinking?”
  • “Yummy, they have ___! Have you ever tried it?”
  • “Hmm, I’m not quite sure what that dish is… do you know?”

Who knows, you might leave the buffet with a better plate of food AND a new contact! That’s a win-win in my book.

Find A Loner

If you see someone standing alone in the corner, clutching his or her drink, and looking miserable, don’t be afraid to walk up and introduce yourself.  Typically, these people need a little help getting the conversation going.

Here are some ice breakers:

  • “Man, these networking events can be so crazy. Mind if I join you over here where it’s a little quieter?”
  • “Wow, there are a ton of people here! The food must be good, huh?”

If someone is standing alone, he or she is probably feeling uncomfortable or unconfident. If you initiate the conversation, it could make them feel more relaxed and willing to connect.

Compliment Them

Everyone loves compliments, especially when they are feeling insecure (and many people do feel that way when attending networking events). If you’re struggling to start a conversation with someone, find something to compliment.

Here are some ideas:

  • “Yum, that drink looks good. What is it?”
  • “Cute shoes! Where did you get them?”

Keeping The Conversation Going

I know what you’re thinking, Yes, yes, that’s all well and good, but how can I keep the conversation going after the initial question?

It’s easy! Talk about something else you have in common – the event itself! Here are some ideas:

  • “I’m Gina, by the way, nice to meet you…”
  • “So, is this your first time at one of these events?”
  • “So, how did you hear about this event?”
  • “What a great place for an event, huh? Have you ever been here before?”

After that, try learning more about them. Questions can include:

  •  “Are you from the area?”
  • “What line of work are you in or trying to get in?”

Next step: get them talking. Remember, people generally like to talk about themselves. So, once they tell you what they do, ask questions about it. Here are a few:

  • “That’s very interesting…”
  • “What drew you to that line of work?”
  • “What do you like about your job?”

BONUS: Your Exit Strategy

It’s that time: your drink is dry and you’re ready to move on. When the conversation starts to wind down, don’t try to force more. Remember, you’re there to mix and mingle – don’t chain yourself to one person all night.

If you’d like to exit a conversation, try one of these lines:

  • “Alright, I’m going to get some food now that the line has died down a bit. It was great meeting you!”
  • “Have you met Lisa? She works in your industry as well. I’m sure you both will have plenty to talk about. I’ve got to say hello to someone, but I’ll be back.”
  • “Well, I think it’s time for me to head out. I would love to talk with you again, though. May I have your card/contact information?”

These are networking tools yo can use in any situation. Remember you are always networking, whether you are at an event or the dog park. DON’T FORGET YOUR CARDS!

TESTIMONIALS

  • “I found the “Release Your Voice” Bootcamp extremely helpful. Starting my new business as a personal trainer will require my talking to a wide variety of people and I feel that your course has given me a huge boost in ability and confidence. I have already recommended your course to a friend of mine”

    - Stan Fiddis, Personal Trainer -
  • “I didn’t know how much I was stressed until I attended Pamela’s session.  Not only is her one on one coaching effective, but she is provided me with the tools, allowing me to execute her program on my own.”

    - Dale Kobewka, CIO SeaSpan -
  • “Pamela’s approach is highly professional, with a depth and diversity of skills that draws out the very best of an individual in working towards a powerful and confident voice. She builds on your personal strengths in a fun and compassionate environment to overcome the fear of public speaking.

    My goals both personal and professional could not have been achieved without the knowledge, support and creatively that ‘Release Your Voice’ so brilliantly provided.”

    - Trish Panz, West Vancouver Politician -
  • “I wanted to thank you for an incredible two days! I gained so much from your teaching, your presenting and your exercises. I feel like I now have a solid foundation to begin my journey toward becoming a great presenter. I am absolutely honoured to have begun my journey with you.

    You definitely suit your name as you really teach from your heart! I was also very impressed at how you were able to read the participants so well and give them not only exactly what they needed, but precisely how much they could handle. I have as much admiration for your skill as a teacher as I do your skill as a presenter (and that’s a heck of a lot!). I paid for this course out of my own pocket and while it was very difficult to part with that money not knowing what I was going to receive in return, I can now say it was worth every penny.”

    - Angelina Robinson -
  • “Thanks so much for your stimulating presentation, “Release Your Voice.” You managed to entertain us (and we’re a tough crowd) while you taught us about things we want and need to know; how to engage and persuade any audience. It was a multi-level audience too, and various types of presenters were present in our audience; you managed to touch on things of value to each and everyone of us.”

    - Kerry Richardson, B.C. Teachers Federation -
  • “Thank you so much for the experience, it was a pleasure meeting and working with you, you are awesome!”

    - Fatima Faria, Executive Director, Sunshine Valley Child Care Society -
  • “It was lovely attending your session. I really appreciated how much of it was hands on. It was extraordinary helpful! It is amazing how much I learning in a couple of days and how much I absorbed”

    - Catherine (Wilkinson) Warren -
  • “I enjoyed people paying attention to me and thanking me for my “great” presentation.”

    - Kyoko Manabe, Social Media Officer, Canadian Tourism Commission -
  • “Pamela’s breadth of experience was beneficial in helping me step into impromptu situations more easily and enjoyably.”

    - Jak Redenbach -
  • “Pam is a high energy keynote speaker who attended our lawyer retreat and addressed the subject of communication. She engaged the audience and there was a great deal of interaction with the lawyers. Pam understood our briefing about the issues lawyers have with communication. She delivered a thought provoking and inspiring workshop on how to improve our skills and become effective communicators. Pam has since developed a strong relationship with the firm and our lawyers continually use her services.

    - Jim Baird, Director, Boughton Law Corporation -
  • “Thanks so much for the feedback Pamela. I have been practicing the tongue twisters and the impromptus daily. I just presented to a group of 100 in Toronto and it went really well. I used the breathing techniques and I did not feel anxious or nervous. I spoke clearly and slowly. The course really helped me get through this presentation. Thank you so much!”

    - Jodi Bains – Human Resources Manager PetSmart Canada -
  • “Not only did the Release Your Voice seminar improve my speaking skills, Pamela helped me work on my presentation after the seminar, so I was totally comfortable with it. Her program is excellent.”

    - Gail Trainer, Investors Group Financial Services Inc. I.G. Insurance Services Inc., Vancouver -
  • “I have witnessed the Release Your Voice Program in action and it is phenomenal. People who were terrified to give their presentations were calm and collected after working with Pamela and her program. As a fellow facilitator I can attest to her skill and talent.”

    - Maryse Cardin, Turtle and Hare Public Relations Vancouver -
  • “I cannot express how much Pamela has helped me in my personal and professional life. I have greater confidence in the boardroom, and in my public speaking skills. I am able to better relate to my clients by utilizing Pamela’s communication techniques. Most importantly, Pamela helped recognize qualities that I had written off as weaknesses. She is a brilliant powerhouse that 100% is worth investing in yourself for!”

    - Natalie Genest, Rennie & Associates Realty -
  • “We have had Pamela Hart come in to do her training on public speaking and she is always one of our top rated speakers. Her training, experience and presence reflect true professionalism and gives tremendous value to our entrepreneurs. All of us at the YMCA New Ventures Network highly value her contribution to our program.”

    - Debbie Catherwood, YMCA New Ventures Network -