Basic Networking Skills: How to Work a Room by Knowing How to Say “Hello”


One of the basic networking skills that you will need to develop is knowing how to work a room. By my definition, working the room simply means that you’ve talked to a good number of people during the course of an event. Working your way through and across the room, in effect. Although it is a networking skill, it doesn’t have to be in pursuit of promoting your business, meeting the right people or promoting your own agenda. You might be at a business networking event, a cocktail reception or even a family reunion. Working the room is a special skill that allows you to touch bases with people and leave them feeling welcome and included in the event. You want to leave them feeling upbeat and positive about you.

Unfortunately the phrase “working the room” can have a negative connotation because of the people who have used it poorly over the years. To them, they think they’re supposed to work other people over, by being false or by giving everyone they meet their business card and a sales pitch. Put that idea out of your mind. Networking is not about selling and neither is working the room. It’s an important skill where you make people feel appreciated without monopolizing them for the evening.

When you’re working a room, you want to make contact with a large number of people. It helps to think of yourself as more like a host than a guest. Hosts will tour the room, checking in with people but not delving into long conversations. Here are some ideas on what to say:

“Hi, it’s great to see you. Thanks for coming.” Pause briefly but keep moving.

“Hello, did you see the delicious food? Did you try the (whatever)?”

“Hi! I’m heading to get a drink (or food). Can I bring you something?”

“Hello, how are you? Have you met Bob Smith?”

“Hi! Hey did you know Mary Jones is here? Let’s go say hello.”

You can also connect with people by making eye contact across the room and waving if you know them well. You might see them later in the event or you might not, but at least you’ve acknowledged them.

Working a room takes some practice. You might feel a bit like a social butterfly at first. After a while though, you’ll find that it’s a great way to meet a lot of people, help others feel more comfortable and have a good time yourself.

Source by Beth Bridges

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