Whilst most people in Marcellus have excellent social skills, there are some of us in Marcellus who get sweaty palms at the thought of schmoozing and networking. Pilita Clark of the FT offers some dos & don’ts for such reluctant networkers. Let’s start with the dos. Here is what good networkers do: “…they prepare. They think about who is going to be there, who they want to see and what sorts of things they can feasibly talk about once they begin a conversation.
If this seems calculating it’s because it is. But it makes it less likely you will do what I once did at a business event where I asked a man I’d just met what he did at the moderately large company he told me he worked at. “Chief executive,” he said.
This is a reminder that successful minglers make a point of introducing themselves, properly, to prevent such awkward conversational holes.
The matter of conversation itself is obviously also important. Here, it helps to be bright, charming and well-read but if you are not, you can at least learn to avoid the more obnoxious habits of the work function bore.”
Then Ms Clark tells us about the donts of networking: “…Among the worst are the self-absorbed blowhards who use every conversational gap as a springboard to drone on about themselves in a way that is, as RoAne says, “not only obvious but also mildly offensive”.
Successful mixers are good listeners. They also avoid the tedious behaviour of the networker who remorselessly scans the room for better options.
These people are best dodged, which leads to one of the most vexing room-working matters — knowing how to politely extricate oneself from a conversation without causing offence.
This is where the truly adept mingler stands out. None of the experts I consulted thought much of my preferred strategy of announcing a need to visit the lavatory, a fail-safe ploy with admittedly limited application. Most approved of another common tactic: asking if anyone would like another drink and heading to the bar.”
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