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Start Having Conversations in a Room Full of Strangers

When I moved to New York, I had almost no contacts and started going to networking events to meet people. Here are some pointers I’ve picked up.

  • Put your phone away.
    • Your phone is a “don’t talk to me” sign.
  • Make yourself physically close to people.
    • People, especially at networking events, can’t help but acknowledge someone standing right next to them.
    • It’s not weird that you’re standing there. It’s only weird for them if they don’t do anything about it.
    • I think some people have a hard time with this, because they feel like they’re being a creep by standing too close. However once people start talking to the person who is standing close to them, will quickly realize they are a normal decent person. Do you want to know what is creepy? Being the guy at a party who is standing there not talking to anybody.
  • Everybody is bad with names, so stop using this excuse.
    • Because, just like anybody else, I often forget names when I’m meeting someone every 15 seconds, i’ve taken to just writing down the peoples names on my hand right in front of them. Sometimes they notice and ask questions. But it’s only given us more to talk about. They also appreciate that I’m making the effort.
    • For some reason, everybody thinks they’re a horrible person because they’ve forgotten someone’s name right after they’ve met them. I forget peoples names all the time, and I just ask them to remind me. I’ve never had anybody react negatively to this. Why would they? I’m taking a special effort to get to know them.
  • Butt in
    • Your reason? “I just wanted to introduce myself.”
  • People don’t remember details. They only remember how they felt.
    • Don’t worry about anything you think may be awkward or any missteps you’ve taken. Just have a good time and get people to like you.
  • Business cards are dead and they suck anyway.
    • Business cards were invented because we used to have to wait until we were home to add the number to a phone book or call them from a phone that was fixed to a wall. None of those constraints exist today.
    • Instead, ask for their email and write them an email right in front of them on the spot.
    • This way, you don’t have to go home hoping that they’ll pick up your business card again. You’ve already started talking outside of the party. The ball is in their court to respond.