In this session of The Engineering Career Coach Podcast, Chris Knutson interviews Susan RoAne who is a world-class teacher, speaker and author on the topic of relationship development and networking. Her books How to Work A Room and Face to Face: How to Reclaim the Personal Touch in a Digital World are great in providing actionable wisdom that we can use to help us as we socialize and build relationships with other people.
“The rewards go to the risk-takers, those who are willing to put their egos on the line and reach out to other people and to a richer, fuller life for themselves.” – Susan RoAne
In the Take Action Today segment of the show, Susan shares some more advice on how you can get started with your networking today.
Listen to This Session and Learn Some of the Tips Susan Shared in This Episode About How to Work a Room:
- Socializing and networking are two different things.
- Stop labeling other people and yourself as shy or introvert.
- Do your due diligence. Be aware. Prepare. Go to the website of the conference.
- Think about two or three things that will help move your conversation.
- Hit the area that people are interested in and they will not become introvert.
- Approach a room as opportunity.
- Pitch the elevator pitch.
- Everywhere you go, go with a purpose, and go with a focus.
- Go to have a good time.
- Instead of thinking of how to make yourself comfortable, think about what you can do to make the other person comfortable with you.
- After talking about what you do, ask the question “What about you?”
- You can start with small talk. You have to earn the right to dig deeper.
- People standing alone are great people to talk to at the event.
- Don’t put anything in the digital world that you wouldn’t want someone know.
- In LinkedIn, do not just post everything about you but share something of someone else’s to start building a relationship with that person.
- Networking is about character, kindness, and being nice.
- Networking is not a business style but a lifestyle; it is the follow-up, and sharing support.
Three tips on self-introduction:
- Your self-introduction should only be 7-9 seconds.
- Tailor your self-introduction to whatever the event you’re at.
- Never tell people your title, instead tell people the benefit of what you do that will intrigue people.
What to do when you don’t have anything in common to talk about:
- You can be the savvy networker by being the great introducer.
- Borrow other people’s lives or stories. Share their stories to connect with people.
- Be open to serendipity – unplanned things that happened because you showed up.
- When we are talking to people, what we can learn are the little things that connect us in ways you never imagined and that will change your relationship.
How to exit a conversation:
- When the conversation is going well, you stop and interrupt yourself and not the other person. “Hey, it’s been great talking to you about…” or “It’s been lovely talking to you…,” then shake hands and walk another quarter of the room towards another person or group.
- If the conversation was not going well, shake the hand and say: “ I hope you enjoy the rest of the conference…” and walk to another quarter of the room to another person or group.
Joining a group having conversation:
- When you hear something interesting and you like to join the group, use agreeable body language or say: “I couldn’t help but overhearing…” or “I am so intrigued by…”
- When you are in the room, and you have someone standing in the periphery trying to get in your group, you’ll be a mingling maven and savvy networker if you take one step back because that would reset the circle and include the person trying to get in.
Resources and links mentioned in this session include:
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Do you struggle with starting a conversation when you are in an engineering event or conference?
We would love to hear any questions you might have or stories you might share on how you network with people at events and conferences.
Please leave your comments, feedback or questions in the section below.
To your success,
Anthony Fasano, PE, LEED AP
Engineering Management Institute
Author of Engineer Your Own Success