I have a genuine ability to make a good impression at networking events. The way I do it is by going against the grain – I do the exact opposite of what everyone else is doing.
While everyone is practicing their 30-second self pitch and making sure they have enough business cards for the event, I’m reflecting about what interesting things I’ve done in the past week so that I can tell the people I meet my cool and interesting stories. I NEVER make up a story; instead, I always make sure that I do interesting things during the week so that people will be able to engage in fun conversations with me.
I promise you that if you follow these 5 simple pieces of advice, you will become more memorable at events and at the same time, have much more fun being there:
1. You are not a company
You are a person, a human being that has a personality with a mind of its own. A company always has to worry about its brand image, but more importantly, a company is constantly trying to sell its product or service. Unlike a company, you don’t have to “sell” yourself; your goal is to be interesting and fun.
If you focus on being yourself rather than being a company, you’re going to appear much more relaxed, friendly, and approachable.
2. Go in unprepared
I never research the speaker nor do I check who is going to be at the event. I don’t want to be influenced by any outside information because it can develop a bias in me that makes me lose my cool temperament and relaxation. The key here is to be as approachable as possible. By walking in with a completely clean slate, I force myself to listen carefully to everything that everyone says.
Another great thing about not knowing who the speakers are is that they now have to impress me with their public speaking abilities. If I’m not impressed with them, I probably won’t make the extra effort to meet them. Yes, I know that I may be missing out on some very good connections by not approaching all of the speakers, but I go for quality of the connection rather than the quantity. If I focus on the speaker who impressed me the most, I will have a higher chance of building a connection with him and then meeting up after the event for a follow up meeting.
3. Don’t ask for a business card
I never ask for a business card. My goal is to be so interesting and fun that the person I’m speaking to is compelled to give me his business card to keep in touch with me. If he doesn’t ask for my business card, then I have failed.
By having a “never ask for a business card” policy, I force myself to attract people to me. I force myself to learn how to tell a story that captivates my audience and makes them want to be my connection.
4. Don’t talk about careers
Everyone in the room is talking about their own career. It gets boring and tiresome. No one is going to remember the client you worked on or the internship you had. It’s not that they don’t care; it’s just that people remember how they felt emotionally when speaking to you rather than the facts about you.
I therefore focus on talking about everything except for my career. I tell them about my trip to Peru, about how much I absolutely love blogs and twitter, and about how they can easily pick up surfing if they wanted to.
When they ask you, “So what do you do?” Make sure you give them something that will blow their minds away!
5. Add some flare to a meet up
When meeting up with the person after the event, don’t go for the same old coffee meet-up. Try something new like going for a bike ride or going surfing. I have done both myself. Introduce your contact to something that you are passionate about and you will instantly create a connection that no one else will be able to replicate.
Implement these 5 techniques and you will become the most memorable person at all the events.
Jun is the Founder and CMO of Future Delivery where he is building Viralogy, the Social Media rank. His personal blog, Become a Young Successful Entrepreneur, gives a real, unfiltered view of the Startup Life so that current and aspiring entrepreneurs can learn from his successes and mistakes.