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Marketing Tip of the Month

Top 100 Tips for Working the Room

By Jeffrey M. Horn

Level I — Beginner Learnings

Before the reception

1. Think about who will be attending. Who do you want to meet? Who can you introduce to whom?
2. Practice a self-introduction. Think about what you will say when asked, “What do you do?”
3. Bring a stack of business cards
4. Have some topics to talk about: read a newspaper, watch the news

At the reception

In General

5. Arrive early
6. Try wearing your name tag on the right
7. Don’t be pond scum
8. Avoid off-color humor
9. Avoid smoking
10. Avoid being loud
11. Avoid complaining
12. Don’t sit
13. Avoid excessive food
14. Avoid excessive drink

Introductions

15. Meet more people rather than fewer
16. Focus on introductions and relationships, not selling

Conversations

17. Look at and encourage the speaker
18. Resist interrupting
19. Spend 95 percent of time asking questions about other person
20. Try to spend 5 minutes not using the word “I”

Remembering Names

21. Repeat the name throughout conversation (judiciously)

Business Cards

22. Ask for business cards (rather than offering yours) and spend some time examining the card

Body Language

23. Smile
24. Make and maintain eye contact
25. Speak at a medium pace and clearly
26. Stand up straight

Graceful Exit

27. Keep one hand free to shake hands in next interaction
28. Don’t be afraid to say, “Excuse me—I see someone I need to say hello to”

Follow-up

29. Send thank-you notes

Level II — Intermediate Learnings

Before the reception

1. Create an action plan of how you are going to “work” the event
2. Set one goal for the event and write it down — make the goal attainable and realistic (e.g., meet two individuals and collect two business cards)
3. Get a copy of the attendee list

At the reception

In General

4. Position yourself near the door
5. Think of yourself more as a Host, as opposed to a Guest, and act accordingly
6. Avoid sizing up name tags
7. Avoid the “sympathy vote” by beginning conversations complaining (about weather, health, room temperature, etc.)
8. Carry a half glass of beverage and order only half a glass of beverage to greater facilitate separation
9. Avoid people you know unless they have the opportunity to give you a cross-introduction

Introductions

10. Initiate handshakes, but respect people’s personal space — don’t crowd them
11. Repeat the name of the person when you meet them
12. Be sure you have a brief, effective introduction of yourself — it should be less than 15 seconds and identify your name, areas of interest, and what you do
13. Look for individuals in the room with “white knuckles.” Although they may be “wall flowers,” they might be valuable people to spend time with

Conversations

14. Repeat what you hear during the course of a conversation — it reflects that you’re listening, and it clarifies points
15. Refer back to conversation later in the dialogue — “As you said earlier, …”
16. Discuss any subject other than doing business
17. When you enter a group; listen for 3 minutes and avoid “striking up the conversation”
18. Focus on be interested vs. interesting
19. Try to find two things in common with the other person

Remembering Names

20. Introduce yourself in a way that teaches people your name: “My name is Jim Hanley — it rhymes with manly…”

Business Cards

21. Make notes on the back of a person’s business card — “Let me write that down on the back of your card…”
22. Keep your business cards in an easy-to-reach pocket — pulling them out of your wallet can be clumsy

Body Language

23. Be relaxed
24. Watch when you nod
25. Pause and listen
26. Don’t look over the shoulder
27. Be sensitive to body language

Graceful Exit

28. You should anticipate that you will spend no more than four to seven minutes with any one individual. After that, you should be prepared to “move on.”
29. You feel more uncomfortable about leaving the interaction than the other person. It’s acceptable to say that you have to make a phone call, get a drink, go to the restroom or say hello to someone you have seen.

Follow-up

30. Follow-up as soon as possible (within 1 week)
31. In follow-up letters, see if you can remember something to ask them to send you. This puts a little bit of the ball in their court.

Level III — Advanced Learnings

Before the reception

1. Pick one name from the registration list to call. “I noticed you were also attending this conference and I was wondering if you were going to the reception as well. I was hoping to steal a few minutes and meet you to find out more about you and the ABC Company…”
2. Think of several questions in advance: “How would I know if I ran into your ideal client or prospect?”
3. If attending with co-workers, share thoughts, strategy, and mental checklist of action items before attending

At the reception

In General

4. Study clothing, shoes, etc. — you can tell many books by their cover.
5. Never sit at an empty table or next to an empty chair
6. Work one-on-one or with small groups
7. Never be critical of anyone at the reception to their face or behind their back
8. Be extra courteous to the staff — they can be a friend or an enemy

Introductions

9. Volunteer your name
10. Split up with colleagues and circulate
11. When introducing someone to someone else, tell a bit about each person, something that might connect them
12. If you have met two people, introduce them to one another
13. Introductions are perfect times to “market” new colleague
14. Look for Meet

Conversations

15. Ask for interpretations: “What do you mean by ‘often’?”
16. Control your body language — be aware of messages you are sending and those you should be receiving
17. Be hypersensitive
18. Ask questions requiring more than a one-word answer
19. Explore comments another makes—more questions are a way of demonstrating interest

Remembering Names

20. Ask the other person their name and then spend time on it, asking the person about self, unusual-sounding name, or other aspect of her introduction
21. Give a memorable description of self, and self-deprecating is okay: “I’m the only one here who can’t break 150 on the golf course.”

Business Cards

22. Use notes on business cards to forward articles of interest

Body Language

23. Keep a level head
24. Don’t fidget
25. Use entire physical being to express yourself
26. Don’t respond to distractions
27. Show people what you mean
28. Maintain an approachable expression

Graceful Exit

29. “Well, I don’t want to take up all your time. I’m sure you have other people you want to talk to and so do I. I’d like to continue our conversation, so why don’t we plan to get together? I’ll call you next week.”

Follow-up

30. Stay in touch: mailing list, invitation to participate


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