Question: I am beginning to attend more social and business functions. I’m not sure exactly how to make the most of such events. Some people seem so natural at being in groups. What advice do you have for me?
Answer: Working a room is an art. Certain unique individuals walk into a room and suck all the air out of it. They have big personalities and people naturally gravitate to them. For most of us we have to expend more effort to get the results we want. Which brings us to the question of just exactly what do we want to gain from personal encounters in group settings? For me it’s about the fact that I enjoy meeting and being around other people. And it’s about collecting as many relationships as possible over the course of my life . . . relationships that I can serve in some way.
I have developed a very specific approach to working a room. I make sure that I have a good supply of business cards in my coat pocket. I generally stop at the bar for a glass of water (I’d rather not drink alcohol at these functions) and then I’m ready to launch. If I see someone I know, I’ll make a beeline to him or her and strike up a conversation. Usually this will result in the person I know introducing me to someone else whom I haven’t previously met. Ultimately, I try to meet everyone in the room depending of course upon the size of the gathering. I tend to make the first move – look the person in the eye, shake their hand firmly and give them my name. I get their name in return and then I usually ask a question of some sort. It may be about the event, the host or something I’ve observed about the person. The conversation usually comes easy after that.
My purpose for meeting people is not to see what they can do for me. It’s the other way around. I live my life knowing that when I help others, good things will come back to me in ways I can’t imagine. So, I’m not “targeting” people to meet in order to position myself to eventually “sell” them something. Over the years I’ve met some of the most fascinating people on the planet. I’ve figured out ways to help them, and my life – both business and personally – has been richly blessed as a result.
The key to success with social or business group situations is to have a well-defined purpose. If we show sincere and genuine interest in other people; are there to talk about them; listen to them; and find ways to help them, we’ll be rewarded beyond our wildest dreams.
This blog is being written in tandem with my book, “An Entrepreneur’s Words to Live By,” available on Amazon.com in paperback and Kindle (My Book), as well as being available in all of the other major eBook formats.