When you mingle there is a difference between socializing and networking.
Socializing is when you are mingling for fun and you don’t have a second agenda.
Networking is when you want to increase your network for a specific reason (it could be finding a new customer, business partner, employer, recruiting, etc.).
Most people find it difficult to mingle but I believe that they are referring to socializing with unknown people.
Networking is much easier. If you know what you want (the reason why you’re networking) you can create a strategy for it, prior to mingling.
Follow your strategy and you will see how easy it is to get new contacts. I’ll give you a couple of examples below, but first I would like to touch on the difference between an introvert person and an extrovert person.
Introvert or extravert – it makes no difference
An introvert person that’s normally uncomfortable when mingling, could be very talkative if the subject is within the person’s area of interest.
So if you are an introvert person, make sure to put yourself in a situation where you feel comfortable by talking to people who share your passions. You can do that in different ways:
- Ask someone you know to introduce you to someone that shares your interest.
- If you have overheard an interesting discussion, you can always join in. With an “Excuse me, I heard you ….”
Extrovert people could easily talk out of context and by doing so miss an opportunity. If you are an extrovert person you need to practice the art of listening. You will find that listening is much harder to practice than you expected but you will gain more new contacts by doing so.
So if you’re normally extrovert, why do you think we have one mouth and two ears?
It’s much easier to mingle in a structured environment such as a seminar. In that case you have heard people ask questions and you can easily start a discussion with a person that you find has an interesting point of view.
At Foo Café we have lots of meet-ups, mainly full of introvert persons. Everybody who attends the meet-ups share the same interest, so we often have successful mingle activities.
The most successful event we had from a mingle perspective was earlier this year. There was a 10 minutes presentation and 4 hours of discussion and mingling.
I’m ending this blog post with an example taken from my upcoming book – “Make your event a success” (you’ll find it here when published).
To achieve your goals, to gain new contacts, you need to network. By having a good networking strategy you will achieve much better results.
Most people mingle by chance or with an attitude that people will ask if they want more information. There are other ways to create new relationships during an event.
Don’t be afraid to talk to attendees. Make sure you show you have a genuine interest in people’s knowledge.
Try this strategy
- Ask questions during the event so that you engage others.
- During the seminar, take notes on who said what.
- In the break: Address people you want to interact with about their interest and start a discussion to create a personal relationship. When you have their contact details, move on to the next person on your list.
Good luck in your Networking.
Michael Tiberg, Founder & CEO Foo Café