How To Work The Room at a Networking Event

Are you networking?
Are you networking?

This is a guest post by Srinivas Rao, a personal development blogger at The Skool of Life where he writes about personal development and spirituality, and ties it all together through his love for surfing. He also runs a surfing blog called Stoked for Life.

One of the things that I’ve done a good amount of over the last 7 months is attend networking events. They always make for an interesting dynamic and are a fascinating study of human behavior and how people connect.  My main piece of advice on how to work the room, is don’t. I know that sounds ridiculous considering the title of the article, but I want to share some of my own thoughts on this.

Keith Ferrazi, in his book Never Eat Alone, describes a personality type called “the networking jerk.” This is a person who is concerned with working the room, collecting cards, meeting as many people as possible, not present at all and always looking for somebody more important to talk to. In other words this person is a COMPLETE DOUCHEBAG.   That’s a bit harsh, but let’s face it. Do you really want this kind of person in your network? This is often the kind of person who is all take and no give.  It’s best to the complete opposite.

4 Tips for being a Networking Event Rockstar

  1. Focus on Quality – I tend to prefer longer more in depth conversations with people at a networking event. In fact it’s not uncommon for me to spend the entire night talking to 2-3 people. I’ve found that in the long run these end up being much more valuable connections from both a personal and professional standpoint. I got to a networking even with the notion of making friends rather than business contacts. That way the interactions I have with people are much more sincere and I have an opportunity to grow my social circle.
  2. Introduce People to Each other – This is another strategy that will make you a rockstar at a networking event. Let’s say you are talking to 2-3 people and a new person arrives. Introduce them to your group and make them part of your conversation. If you did that for most of the night you’d meet 10 new people, and it wouldn’t be the “networking jerk” approach.
  3. No Person is More Important than Another – If there’s anything I hate, it’s when people think you are not important enough to talk to them. That’s such a jack ass mentality to networking, yet I see so many people driven by pure ego behaving that way. If you treat everybody like they’re important it will pay off dramatically. You should never assume somebody is not important enough to talk to because you never know they might be connected to. That and you should just be kind to people.
  4. Have Good Energy – This is a tough one for many people because they are completely unaware of it. If you are a positive high energy person, people will open up to you fast. If you are  coming across like a serial killer than you should get your energy in check. Fortunately something as simple as an affirmation repeated daily before going to sleep and right when you wake up can change that for you.

Srinivas Rao is a personal development blogger at The Skool of Life where he writes about personal development and spirituality, and ties it all together through his love for surfing. He also runs a surfing blog called Stoked for Life.

Photo by: thinkpanama

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18 thoughts on “How To Work The Room at a Networking Event”

  1. Wow, Srinivas, this is an excellent article. I’ve been to a few networking events and I do recognize the various people “types” that you describe here.

    Awesome tips on how to network effectively, hope to put these into practice soon. 🙂

    -Dena
    .-= Dena´s last blog ..My 2010 Financial Goals =-.

  2. I completely agree with quality over quantity as being crucial. When you are genuine, people will feel it more and the connections made will reflect that.

  3. Hey Srinivas, interesting post. I just commented on your post today at your blog. I’m sorry about what happened. This article is also pretty awesome. Learning from other people is a great skill to have. I like your approach of introducing your friends to others because they may be shy, and also focusing on quality conversations versus trying to talk to a hundred different people at once. Nice! Thanks Ken for sharing this.

  4. Solid advice. I agree with everything you covered in networking. I especially like that you suggest making friends instead of business contacts. Business is built on relationships. So that is a key point. Also the part about introducing people you are meeting is awesome. Not everyone is outgoing, so it is really cool when you remember your new friends names and introduce them to each other. You are a rockstar, Ken!
    .-= Erin´s last blog ..The Spirit Within Us =-.

    1. @Erin: Thank you! It really is important to create deeper connections rather than superficial ones that may fade quickly.

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