“If we listen, we always know what to say next.” – Susan RoAne
The Cheat Sheet:
- Your number one purpose at any event. (11:50)
- Why drinks aren’t really free at an open bar. (24:00)
- How to remember people when you meet them. (30:30)
- Why it’s important to never burn bridges; Susan gives a personal lesson. (42:00)
- The #1 tactic to create your own luck. (41:25)
- How to introduce yourself, even if you’re shy. (52:00)
- And so much more…
Networking. It is one of the most coveted skills someone can possess; it can open doors where they were previously closed, and it can create opportunities where there previously were none.
One of the most informative experts on this topic is Susan RoAne. She’s the author of How to Work a Room, now on its fourth edition and silver anniversary. She joins the Art of Charm podcast for our 308th episode to dish the details on the ins and outs of networking and connecting, even if you’re shy. She’s got advice, techniques, and tips for everyone in any industry.
More About This Show:
Considered one of the leading experts in the field of networking, Susan RoAne has seen her share of the good, the bad, and the ugly when it comes to networking. And some of her favorite advice to give people is simple: you never know. You never know who someone is, who is in their network, and what doors they are connected to — so always be nice to everyone. Because you never know.
One of the reasons the topic of networking, and her book, have been so important and continue to be so important is because everyone needs to network. The details may change from generation to generation, but the rules generally don’t. If you want to be a good networker, always be nice to others and treat other people like you’re a host.
Why act like you’re a host? Because hosts listen and make their guests feel welcome, and at home. That’s what you should be doing when you network: making others feel comfortable in your presence. Stop worrying about, or even having an agenda when you go somewhere. Go there to have fun, be lively and connect with people…not to get someone or get something for yourself or your business. Susan says that is the essence of networking.
In this episode, Susan gives us some nuts and bolts on how to prepare for an event, how to engage with people (even if you’re shy), and how to really work a room.
To prepare, she says to go online and research the people who may be there. Find their LinkedIn profile and study it, as well as their Facebook page. Look for what you have in common with them outside of the business realm. Then when you meet them, work it into a conversation. Are you both recovering lawyers? Say so. Did you both go to the same college or grow up in the same part of the country? Say so.
When it comes to engaging with people, Susan has three suggestions for starting a conversation: introduce yourself in under 10 seconds with a pleasantry, say something about the event, and then give the benefit of what you do (not what you do precisely). Keep it short, sweet, and to the point.
To really work the room, even if you’re a shy person, get there on time or within 15 minutes of the event starting. That way the room works you — not the other way around! As people arrive, you’ll be able to mingle and mix on a more intimate basis.
Susan and I really get into the finer details of networking in this episode. We talk about how to exit a conversation graciously (and it’s not by saying you have to use the bathroom!), how to follow up and make yourself stand out in that follow up, and how to remember the people you meet.
And there’s plenty more where that came from! Susan was a terrific guest and I enjoyed having her on the show; be sure to get out your notepad or your Evernote and write her tips down so you can take action the next time you’re at a networking event.
THANKS, SUSAN ROANE!
Resources from this episode:
How to Work a Room (hard copy)
How to Work a Room (audio version)
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