I have to admit that when I enter a room with 250 people, it is a little unnerving.
Even after doing sales and business development for that last 25 years. Here are 5 rules to live by.
1.) Have a goal of meeting 5 new and interesting people. Then you can relax and settle in to talk to people you already know.
2.) Have an exit strategy. Sometimes you get stuck in a conversation that is going nowhere. Politely say “Excuse me but I see someone I need to talk to. It was great meeting you”.
3.) Don’t be the person that runs around and grabs business cards with the intent of flooding people with Spam. Have a meaningful conversation and evaluate if this person could be a good referral source.
4.) Ask how you can help the person you are talking to. They will probably be stunned by your question and you can get more info about who their customer base is.
5.) When talking to people, have a mental list of 1-2 specific individuals you are looking for. That is better than saying I am looking for some in Marketing or finance. Say I am looking for John Smith that works for ABC Plumbing. You will find someone that knows that person or someone that could refer you to them.
Yes, networking is a little scary at first but accept that and do it anyway. The next time you walk in the room you will see a few friendly faces. Build off of that, keep going consistently and be patient. Sales will come.