How You Can Get an Extra Edge at Networking Events

What do you do? Networking #1 questionsEveryone is Situationally Shy

All Association meetings and Hospitality Industry events are promoted as the perfect format to make new contacts and develop potential business relationships. I never stop being amazed at how many talented and well-educated people often do not know how to maximize these events.

Here are two easy ways you can help your members make the most of networking events and your conventions.

1. Teach the Travel with Your Own PR agent Technique

It’s simple and cost-free. Each member enlists a coworker, friend, or fellow association member to form a duo. My networking buddy in San Francisco is Susan RoAne, the best-selling author of HOW TO WORK A ROOM, SECRETS OF SAVVY NETWORKING, and WHAT DO I SAY NEXT? We attend many meetings together.Patricia Fripp best networking technique

Here’s what we do. When we arrive at an event, we alternately separate and come together. I’ll walk up to Susan as she is talking to someone, and she’ll say, “Larry, let me introduce you to Patricia Fripp. Patricia is truly one of the greatest speakers in the country.” And, I will turn around and say, “Larry, I bet Susan is too modest to tell you she’s the best-selling author of five books.”

When you do this, you’re saying great things about each other that you’d love your prospects to know, but modesty prevents you from telling them.

Suppose Natalie and Fred are secret partners. As Fred walks up, Natalie says to the person she’s been talking to, “Jack, I’d like you to meet Fred. Fred has taught me nearly everything I know about sales and our product line. There has never been a sales contest in our company he hasn’t won.” Then, Fred can say, “Well, Natalie’s being very generous. It’s true, I’ve been with our company for sixteen years. But, Natalie’s been here for only six months, and she’s brought in more new business than any other person in the fifty-three-year history of our firm, so she knows a couple of things too. I tell you, you couldn’t do better than work with someone as enthusiastic as Natalie.”

2. Appoint Shy Members to Be Greeters

Much of the value of your meetings can be lost on a member who is retiring or fundamentally shy. For many people, mingling with a room full of strangers can be an unpleasant or even scary experience. Seventy percent of the population rates themselves as at least “situationally shy,” says Susan RoAne in her networking books.

To encourage your more reticent members to focus on all those exciting new people and messages instead of the butterflies in their stomachs, give them jobs that require interacting with your other members and attendees. For instance, give them a big name tag with a ribbon that says “Greeter” and have them issue name tags, sign up people for workshops, or just direct traffic: “How do you do? I’m Chris Carter. Nice to meet you. Name tags are here. The food is over there. How do you do? I’m Chris Carter. Nice to meet you.” Soon they’ve met many new people and will get cheery nods of recognition throughout the event, making them more responsive and at ease.

These two very simple and over-looked techniques help members of all organizations develop potential business.

Happy attendees and members sell help to sell the value of your meetings and events.

Companies hire Patricia Fripp to help them drive more sales by perfecting their important conversations and presentations.

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