Here are a few powerful tactics that I’ve learned from running events for over 20 years.
1. Put some effort into researching who the attendees are. Most importantly, try to remember their name and face.
If you are greeting someone that has never met you before by their name, it really impresses them and makes them feel important… and that’s a sure-fire way to make them remember YOU and the event.
2. Greet everyone with a firm handshake and thank them for coming. Remember that their first impression of you is not only what they will remember YOU by, but also how they will remember the event.
3. If you have time, ask them where they are from and what their business does. This is one of the most important steps and the reason is this: When someone comes to a networking event they are usually really nervous… even to me as an experienced networker I’m often nervous in the beginning when I go to other networking groups.
As the organiser, you need to think about how you can minimise this uncomfortableness and make people relax and feel welcome and part of the group as fast as humanly possible.
In the beginning of a networking event people are usually thinking something like: Who can I talk to? Will anyone want to talk with me? Will they like me? Am I going to be this uncomfortable all night?
All these questions and more are going on WHILE they are trying to remember and rehearse their pitch. Bottom line… it’s a scary experience.
When you ask about them, you take their focus away from their thoughts and nervousness. Also, when you know where they are from and what they do it gives you the info you need to introduce them to someone else and when that happens you save them from that scary experience of approaching someone.
4. Spot people that are standing alone. These people are usually shy/introverted and when you engage them and introduce them to someone else, they become really grateful. These people will be your biggest ambassadors because you helped them get out of a situation that was massively uncomfortable.
These few tips might seem like small things, but trust me they make a massive difference. You will literally see this working from them moment you implement them.
Patrick Powers is the founder of Entrepreneurs in London, the biggest entrepreneurs meet-up in Europe.