Tip #1: Be clear on who to avoid and who to engageBe clear on who to avoid and who to engage. Don’t mess around. If someone is in your vicinity that you do not wish to engage, you need to act quickly and move directly to a new target. It isn’t enough to just mosey away, you need to specifically move toward someone else, rather than away from the person you want to avoid. Trust me – it’s effective!
Tip #2: Never be seen just ‘standing there’Social suicide. No-one to talk to? Don’t know anyone? No need to make it obvious. Refer back to point 1 – intent is the key and moving forward! Even if you don’t know exactly who or what you’re moving toward, no-one else does either!
Tip #3: Don’t linger too longThere’s many people in the room, don’t linger too long with any of them. You have a mission and a purpose to work the room, and you can’t do that if you talk to the same person / people for most of the night. Too boring. Keep moving!
Tip #4: Don’t use an obvious segueNovices say things like “I’m just going to get another drink”. Room-workers use phrases like, “your trip sounds fantastic, I’ll look forward to hearing about it when you get back. Have a great time, (as they smile, kiss goodbye and / or do a slight arm movement to indicate a quasi wave, and move back from where they’ve been standing, and turn in the direction of a new target). A very subtle ‘goodbye, I’m moving again’ where neither party loses face.
Tip #5: Always have a free handOne for a drink, which you’re bound to need, and the other for quick bites and hand shakes. If you’re female and have a bag, make sure it’s a clutch or has a handle or strap so you can keep your hand free. Nothing worse than food in your hand and your mouth, a drink in the other, and you can’t speak, and you can’t ‘shake’. Not a good look. No way to make connections.
Tip #6: Don’t be seen to be leaving until you’re out the doorThere may be someone very important that you see just as you’re leaving. Keep a drink in your hand and look like you’re still in full networking swing. You don’t want to be seen to be leaving early.
So, there they are - top tips for working a room. Give it a try, when you come at it from a head space of ‘working the room’ as opposed to ‘networking’, you’ll feel and act differently.