I often do things by myself and almost always meet new, interesting people when I do. This past Thursday, I wanted to capture my experience, so I paid more attention to what I do when I am out.

I went to a bar/lounge in midtown (NYC) that I knew would be populated by professionals in the area (think: law firms, financial establishments, etc.). Plus, I knew that the NBA finals started on that day (which means more people will be out than usual…and I was right).

Remember, almost everything you do will start with a THOUGHT!!!  So, before it was time for me to go, I went with a few intentions in mind:

  1. I intended to be around different people;
  2. I intended to network (I will define my version of networking in a minute); and
  3. I intended to have a good time…no matter what.

Well, I successfully met all of my intentions, so I am very satisfied with the result. I even have a few takeaways that may make your next networking experience a better one. So here we go!

Read: Signature Styling Like Kim Kardashian

1. Dress for opportunities.  Listen…if you’re looking for high-end clients, you have to look similar to your audience in order for them to relate to you.  The same as if you’re looking to network with other professionals. You have to play the part to get the role!  Also, you may way to…

2. Smile.  Understand that smiling is an universally accepted symbol.  Everyone knows what a smile is, so that helps for when people make the decision of saying hello.  And while you are smiling, don’t forget to…

3. Make eye contact. Sometimes, people aren’t sure if they should make the first move.  Well, it could all be in your eyes.  That, and flashing that gorgeous smile of yours may give the person a clue that it is okay to say hello.

4. Network. You probably will be in a place with lots of people.  Networking doesn’t necessarily mean going to “that networking event” or a networking mixer and handing out business cards to everyone you meet.  It could be as simple as having small talk with a few people.  Clicking with a few solid people is always better than ending up with a cemetery of business cards.

Well, what do you say?  I’m glad you asked.  Here are a few conversation starters:

  1. This is a really good crowd!
  2. That is a beautiful dress!
  3. Excuse me, but what drink is that? I think I want to try the same thing.

And say it like you mean it (because…you do)!!!  Done!  Or should I say…it begins 🙂

5. Be in the moment. That means put that cell phone down and enjoy the atmosphere!!!  Believe me when I say that no one wants to see the back of your cell phone or the top of your head.  Also, try listening to the music that’s playing.  The music may not be your cup of tea, but at least try to move to it.  You never know, you may end up liking a new song!

6. Be open to meeting new people. That means leave the friends at home and go out with them another time (sorry friends!).  It is harder to meet people or for people to want to connect with you when someone is already occupying that space.  Plus, it shows that you are confident in yourself, and that could mean a great thing for business…or for you personally 🙂

(Before you head out by yourself, use safety precautions and let at least one person you trust know your whereabouts and change of plans.  Personal safety is the best boss move you will make!!!)

7. Be yourself! I’m sure if you are reading this, you know that you are a pretty awesome individual!  Let that awesomeness come from within and make its way out!!!  Networking doesn’t have to be hard…it should be fun to meet new people!  In most settings, they are there to have a good time just like you are. So, have fun with it!

 

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