This week's retro post is all about looking at the context of your situation when networking and starting conversations. Have a look!
P.S.- PLAE applications are still being accepted. Make sure to apply today!
July 14, 2009
Don't be governed by the context
So last night we had the first PLAE class and it was really great. We started by talking about networking and I thought I'd share a little tidbit that we all discovered.
Every place you are is a chance to make connections. Most people think that the only place to do business is in an office, but the fact of the matter is, you could find business in a restaurant, on the sidewalk, or in a bar. As long as you don't let the context of the situation take over.
What do I mean by this?
If you're in a setting that doesn't encourage mixing or mingling, that is the context. If you accept that, you could be sitting next to a huge investor and not even know it. If you create your own context, then you can have a conversation and perhaps make a connection with that new contact. So the ultimate question:
How do you create your own context?
Think of something interesting to say and break the ice. Some people may think you're weird and not talk to you, but most will and you'll be in control. Remember that to break into a conversation, you always have to interrupt. If you worry that interrupting is too rude, you lose. End of story. Of course, don't be rude, but do find a way to break in. My personal favorite is "So sorry to interrupt, but I just wanted to say how much I enjoyed your talk" ---Now I've created a context for that person and the people they are talking with to include me in that conversation.
Does it always work?
Of course not.
Creating context is much harder than following the rules of the room, but if nobody broke the rules, we'd be in a very boring business.
So get out there and start some conversations!