During a National Speakers Association seminar over the weekend, I discovered two new networking tips for attending meetings:
1) Sit in the back. You will be able to see the bulk of the people in the audience. This allows you to pre-screen:
- Who is there you ALREADY KNOW
- Who is there you WANT TO KNOW
- Who is there you WANT TO KNOW YOU
Honestly, I only learned this tip because I arrived about 40 minutes LATE. (Thanks for nothing, Mapquest.) But I wouldn’t have sat in the back otherwise. So from now on, I always will!
You can also take this opportunity to practice people’s names. I’ve been doing this trick for years. As soon as you take your back row seat, look around the room and say the names of every single person you can (from memory OR their nametags). This way, you’ll feel more comfortable approaching them when you talk later.
2) Switch seats. After the major breaks, i.e., lunch or session gaps, try a new seat. Get to know another person. Find open chairs, politely ask if the seats are taken and introduce yourself. Don’t worry; the person sitting next to you won’t mind. This will give HIM an opportunity to meet someone new as well. (Of course, be careful not to steal anyone’s place. Choose wisely.) But moving around will help you maximize the number of people with whom you converse.
LET ME ASK YA THIS…
How do you maximize your presence at a meeting or seminar?
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Author/Speaker/That guy with the nametag