Perhaps the most effective networking is a one-on-one setting over coffee or lunch. That is usually within most people’s comfort zone. But how comfortable are you when attending a conference with a room full of strangers. Can you “work the room” without breaking into a cold sweat?
Here are a few simple tips to keep your palms dry.
You do not have to meet everyone
While hundreds of people may be in the room, if you meet 10-20 new people, you are doing great. Even if you only meet 5, that is 5 more people than you knew before.
Look to meet someone new who is talking to someone you already know
An easy way to meet a new person is when you see someone who you do not know, talking with someone who you do know. That should be in your comfort zone.
Look for someone more uncomfortable than you
For those who want to stretch the limits of their comfort zone, introduce yourself to someone who looks more uncomfortable than you. Trust me, there are always lots of them, and they are very noticeable. They will be grateful for your initiative.
Sit at the table where you know the least number of people
When eating a meal, sit with as many strangers as you can. It’s very easy to meet two people; the two who are sitting next to you.
This is not the time to catch up with people you see regularly.
This is the time to meet new people and expand your network.
For those reading this who are attending MinnCLE’s solo/small firm conference in Duluth this weekend, I hope I get the chance to meet many of you.