Demonstrate A Host Mentality
Networking pros know that it’s in their best interest to help others feel comfortable at networking events. This gets them known as “heroes” to those who are shy and feel uncomfortable. They also know it’s important to be known as a “connector.” It’s a fact that many people who attend networking events feel uncomfortable because they don’t know many, if any, other people at the event.
That feeling of awkward loneliness can feel like a teenager standing alone at a 9th grade dance hoping to be noticed by someone (Mr. Cellophane from the show “Chicago” comes to mind).
Being rescued from that feeling gives the experienced networker “hero” status in the eyes of the rescued person. Sometimes people who feel uncomfortable around strangers will act like they are busy with their phone or otherwise pre-occupied.
They are really feeling like this little fellow to the right…often wishing there was someone in the room who would come and rescue them from their awkwardness.
Go ahead…be a hero! You’ll be remembered in a positive way.
Experienced networkers demonstrate a “host” mentality by moving around the event and connecting people with each other. The work to help eliminate that awkward feeling in other people. They look for people who are standing around alone, introduce themselves, learn a bit about them and then take them to meet other people.
The great thing about this behavior is that the two people the networking pro connects become memorable to both of them. People like to refer business to people they like.
I recall a wedding I attended some years ago in Pittsburgh. I arrived at the country club for the reception and I knew only my friend who was getting married. Nearly 25 years had passed between this event and college so I was not part of his current social network. When I walked in the front door he spotted me, quickly came over to greet me, and once the initial pleasantries were concluded, he began introducing me to others at the event.
Wow, did I feel a lot more comfortable? You bet I did! And I’ll always remember my friend’s generous act of kindness that helped make the 4-hour dinner reception a very enjoyable experience.
Now, when I attend networking events where I already know a number of the attendees, I seek out “new” people, get to know them a little bit and then introduce them to other attendees. People standing alone are great “targets” to engage and then play “host” to…they will be very appreciative that someone made them feel better. Go ahead and get your host-mentality on. Start connecting others and you’ll quickly achieve “hero” status!