Last week The BOW Group had a booth at the fourth annual MEGAvention at the Virginia Beach Convention Center.  It was two days of networking, relationship building, and meeting new people.  I’ve decided you get out of things what you put into it.  I watched the people working the other booths around me.  There were all sorts of other companies and organizations on the floor and they all had different types of businesses they were representing.  I noticed there were some who stood the whole time, some who sat, some who engaged, and some who barely made eye contact.

Yesterday, I was at a planning meeting for a professional organization where I volunteer on the board.  A Marketing Director from another firm I tend to pal around with at industry events serves on the board too.  She was venting her frustrations she had with a colleague who was at a lunch she wasn’t attending, but had set him up to attend on their company’s behalf.  She kept receiving emails from him during his event explaining his discomfort and loneliness.  He asked her why no one would initiate conversation with him. This prompted us to the common discussion of technical introverts representing their firm in social engagements and how to help them overcome the obstacle of their comfort zone.

Don’t think for extroverted Marketer/Business Developers there isn’t an air of discomfort in these events.  What I have learned is finding a few things going on that are globally interesting and using those as networking conversation enhancers.  Last week at MEGAvention I told more people about my upcoming trip to see my very first Major League Baseball game.  It was such a successful conversation piece people emailed me after the weekend to inquire on my experience.

A good rule of thumb is if you want people to speak to you let them find you friendly.  For the most part we all have a level of apprehension when it comes to talking to people for the first time, but the more they find you friendly and open the more at ease they will be to engage you back.

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