For many of us, walking into a room full of strangers is one of the most anxiety provoking situations. We’d rather hang out at the refreshments table instead of introducing ourselves to people we’ve never met before.
WHY IS THAT?
For most of us, it’s about not knowing how to authentically connect with a stranger. Connecting with strangers can be intimidating!
How do I introduce myself?
What do I say?
What if the conversation stalls?
How do I exit gracefully?
Here’s the “secret”- we’re all looking for the same thing: connection. At the end of the day, we all want the same things.
We want to be:
Okay, that’s great but then what? How do you connect with anyone?
Think about it. You walk into a room with just two people. One person has a very serious look on their face. The other person has a friendly smile. Who do you gravitate towards? Probably the person with the smile! You feel welcomed, you feel a sense of approachability, you feel more of a connection. It doesn’t matter if the serious person is incredibly nice, they aren't necessarily sending out that signal. If you want to create a sense of connection, be approachable! Be friendly! SMILE!
2) GIVE A GENUINE COMPLIMENT
If you’re unsure about how to introduce yourself, an easy “in” is to start with a genuine compliment. The key, though, is to be genuine. People can spot a fake compliment a mile away.
You can also ask someone what they’re doing at the event, their impressions of the theme, their thoughts on the weather.
Once you get the conversation going, introduce yourself!
3) SHARE INSIGHT AND ASK INSIGHTFUL QUESTIONS
After the initial introduction, I recommend that you put your title aside and share who you are as a person. Your identity is not your title. Your identity is so much more than what’s written on your business card.
On that same note, ask questions to learn more about the person you’re speaking with. Yes, you can start with asking about what they do, but go beyond their title! People CRAVE connection! You don’t authentically connect with someone by listing your resume.
4) LISTEN AND FIND COMMON GROUND
Listen more to learn more. I bet you’ll find a few threads of common ground that will create a sense of connection, and you can continue to build upon that common ground.
Maybe you are from the same area, like the same sports teams, prefer being hot to being cold, enjoy a certain dish, are one of three children. WHATEVER the common ground is, that’s instant connection!
And one more word of advice? ENJOY! Everyone has their own journey, story, experiences. Enjoy and be open to listening and learning. You might just make a new friend or network connection!