The room was filling up fast. As I mentioned in Part 1, I spent about 15 minutes mingling with the audience. I engaged in mini conversations with various people in the room. From experience, people connect better with a speaker who has spent time working the room.
Here some effective networking tips I use when working a room. (Detailed in Conversation Magic). These are effective in social situations and when working an audience before you speak.
Sometimes I use these as I stand in front of the audience. Other times I float around the room.
Networking Tip #1: Smile with your face and your body.
Smiling is powerful. Studies show it will put us in a good mood and it makes us more likable. A smile makes your voice sound warm and friendly. Practice smiling in front of the mirror so you can create a genuine smile at will and not a cheesy, plastic one.
Can a person frown with their body?
At one event I saw a guy standing in the corner with his arms folded and slumped shoulders. His whole body was shouting, “I am in a grumpy mood. Stay away!”
Uncross your arms. Let them hang by your side. Stand or sit up straight. This will make you feel more confident and be more approachable.
Networking Tip #2: Approach people.
Many people are shy. At most events they do not mind being approached by a friendly person, especially if it is the keynote speaker. My network of business contacts is filled with people because I took the initiative to start a conversation.
“What if I feel nervous or shy?”
Do it anyways. When’s the last time you felt like getting out of bed when the alarm went off? For me, about 1 time out of 20.
After getting up and getting ready for your day, are you glad you got up? Usually. 🙂
In the same way take control of your fear and approach people. Walk up with a smile. Stop at a comfortable distance.
Then apply this next networking tip on working a room.
Networking Tip #3: Use a comment or a question.
A year ago I was standing in front of a packed out room preparing for a workshop on conversation skills. As people continued to file in, I applied the first two networking tips.
I stepped towards a lady on the front row, got her attention, and asked, “How are you enjoying the conference so far?”
That started the conversation and we conversed for about thirty seconds and I found out her name.
While we were talking, the 10 people sitting around her were paying close attention. I was building the connection with them.
Here are some conversation starter questions and comments you can use to start a conversation.
Conversation Starter Questions
- How are you enjoying this event?
- How’s (name) doing?
- What’s new with you?
Comments for Conversations
- Hi! I’m Arlen.
- An observation. The Weather is sure nice.
- A praise. That’s a nice (notebook, ear ring, car, etc) you have.
This will get the conversation rolling and you will be able to effectively network.
Networking is vital to business success to helping a speaker connect with the audience. Apply these three networking tips and you’ll take your speaking and conversation skills to a new level.
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(C) Arlen Busenitz