Networking: How To Work A Room Like A Pro

By Liz Wendling, CWCC Member

Good networkers know how to “work a room!”  You know who they are, the people circulating easily and with grace around the room, meeting, greeting and talking to people in a way that looks and sounds sincere. It is obvious that they know how to start, develop and end lively and interesting conversations that build rapport.

Working a room effectively means having many short conversations with many people.  Short does not mean superficial.  It is completely possible to have thought-provoking, meaningful and stimulating short conversations with new contacts that create connections and make you memorable.

Not everyone likes this sort of networking environment. Many people who are put in this unfamiliar environment rank the negative fearful feelings that surface to be as bad as the fear of public speaking!

Yes, it is uncomfortable walking into a room full of people you don’t know – and it is even worse when you need to make a good impression.  But when you do know how to work a room you will feel better about yourself, make great social and business contacts and you will be able to make others feel more comfortable too.  Your confidence will attract them to you and make them want to know you better.

Working a room is not about buzzing around, passing out your cards like a black jack dealer and having fleeting half-conversations with other people.  Sure, you will meet a lot of people but it will be highly unlikely that you will make an impact.  If you do, it will not be a favorable one.

Try this tip the next time you are at an event. Make a conscious decision to approach people whom you might not normally speak to. Armed with your repertoire of conversation starters and questions, you should have no difficulty in making a good first impression and developing rapport. The more people you meet in a genuine way, the less fazed you will be by the networking process.  It is all part of the big networking plan of effectively working a room.

Another very important tip to remember when you are working a room is to not to be in sales mode.  Move gently from social to business conversation and avoid any sense of “selling.” People are not at networking event to buy or be sold, they are there to network.

Are you ready to work a room?  Are you willing to have interesting conversations with many new people? You must if you want to grow your business, close more sales and gain referrals.

I would like to end with a quote from Fred Couples that is very fitting for this subject. “When you’re prepared, you’re more confident.  When you have a strategy, you’re more comfortable.”

Liz Wendling, The Sales Coach for Women specializes in teaching women business owners, entrepreneurs and business leaders how to prosper by overcoming the fear and anxiety inherent in sales. Liz empowers women to be confident and strong in the sales process and shows them what it really takes to make sales fun, stress-free and profitable.  www.salescoachforwomen.com