Ready Responses for “Working” Your Next Networking Event

two handed hand shakeNetworking is a skill requiring a certain amount of grace, confidence and courtesy to do well.  Some people are naturals at it. Yet many business professionals are unsure of just how to “work the room” with grace when they attend an event.

Here’s what gracefully working the room includes: 

  • Keep conversations short to allow connecting with many
  • Be positive and courteous to those who interest you and those who don’t
  • Graciously terminate conversations
  • Be smooth and pleasant as you move from one contact to another
  • Leave everyone you meet feeling better because of how you treated and respected them
  • Listen and be present to each person you speak with in conversation

Your success is based partly on your attitude and approach, and partly on what you say. 

Here are some ready responses that will make you a better networker…that’s assuming you bring a good attitude with you as well:

 

  • “Thanks for your time! Will you excuse me? Someone I promised to meet just arrived.”

 

  • “Hey, there is someone I’d like to introduce you to. Will you follow me?”

 

  • “Great to chat. I’ve got to take a quick break. Hope to see you later.”

 

  • “Well, good to see you. Gotta make sure I get around the room today.”

 

  • “Wish I good chat with you longer, but I promised myself I’d meet lots of people here to today.”

 

  • “You know, I’m sorry to cut you short, but the time here is so limited! We both need to meet others in the room today.”

networking

 

 

  • “Looks like it’s time for more networking. Thanks for your time.”

 

  • “I’m glad we finally met. Can we talk about this more by phone? I’d like to call you to follow-up.”

 

  • “That’s very interesting. Thanks for sharing. You’ve given me something to think about. Now I have to see if I can catch this person I just saw arrive.”

 

  • “Pleasure to meet you. See you again. I’m going to make the rounds now and will catch you another time.”

 

In networking like everywhere in life, you’ll meet business professionals you really want to connect with. And others, not so much. Some people you won’t find professional at all, and some you just won’t want to spend your time with.

 

friendly attitudeBut, it’s networking! Your impression and your reputation are important, not just to those you like, but to all those you meet. Ideally you want to leave a flowered path behind you full of people who find you gracious and pleasant, not to mention professional and business-like.

 

Your goal is to connect, be sincere and leave a lasting positive impression with everyone. Having some ready responses will help. It will keep you from fumbling with your words and wondering how to move around the event with ease.

 

Tell me…which phrase, or two, above is one you’d use? Your favorite “line” so to speak? Love to hear what works for you!

Reduce Drama with Six Boundary-Setting Statements

draw line in the sand

Boundaries are lines in the sand. Verbal ones that we draw by telling other people how to treat us or what we find acceptable or even what behaviors we’ll tolerate.

But if we neglect to open our mouths, to speak up, to state our preferences, then others just assume anything goes. They have no reason to think otherwise.

Without meaning to, the absence of boundaries says, “Eh…it doesn’t matter. I have no limits. It’s all good! Whatever YOU decide about how to treat me is fine with me.”

Now, I get you aren’t actually SAYING those words, but saying NOTHING creates that affect.

Can you see where I’m going with this? Once again it comes back to speaking up. It comes back to the way to say it . I get that it isn’t easy to be direct and assertive, but mind-reading is not an effective alternative.

Nor is assuming others know what we want. Or assuming that they want the same things we do.

What if you had some go-to phrases to whip out when you need to stop someone in their tracks? Before it’s too late! Before there’s tension and resentment.

Stopping someone before they cross a line or before they assume they know what you want is much easier than backtracking and having a clean-up conversation.

what to say

Here are a few of my go-to boundary setters:

“Before we get too far, can you tell me what your plans are for this project?”

“You know, it doesn’t seem my feelings are being taken into account. Let’s talk about this before things progress any further?”

“It’s really important to me that ____________ (fill in the blank). Are we on the same page with that?”

“I certainly respect your needs. I’d like to talk about this to make sure my needs are being met too.”

“I tend to be direct to avoid problems down the road. Let’s compare plans and make sure we’re in agreement.”

“This isn’t really what I had in mind. Can you tell me what you’re thinking so I can be sure we agree?”

 

One of the real pros about saying things upfront is this:  you avoid future drama! Pre-empting is a great strategy.

Here’s why. Speaking up before there’s tension may be uncomfortable. But it won’t be anything worse than that…a bit uncomfortable…because nothing bad has happened yet.

When we speak up in advance, everyone is still on neutral ground. There’s no tone or  negativity or resentment. Not yet. Because all we’re doing is inquiring or checking in to make sure those involved in the issue or project are seeing things, planning things, taking action with the same point of view.

The stress, tension and resentment avoided this way is huge. All that’s needed is to develop a habit of saying to yourself in the moment, “I had better check now. I had better ask now. It will be so much easier to just ask now and avoid the possibility of drama and conflict later.”drama free black bakcground

Wanna reduce the drama in your life, your office? Start here with boundaries.  Set them BEFORE things go sideways. We’ll talk another day about boundary setting AFTER the fact in the midst of tension and drama.

As my neighbor says to her three and six-year old boys, “Use your words.” I can’t think of better advice to share.

What are “your words” for boundary setting?  I’d love to hear how you set boundaries at the office or home. Can’t have too many good responses to avoid drama!