One thing I was taught very early on when I first started business networking was to arrive early. It was explained that some of the best connections are made before an event starts and it’s much easier to have a quality conversation.
This tip applies to any event and not just business networking meetings. You can add valuable contacts to your network anywhere and at most events there will be people who arrive before the crowds.
It does not have to be a business related event either. It can be any event where people gather. So consider arriving early for club meetings, committee meetings, and even parties and barbeques. As always you should be focusing on developing the connection and the relationship rather than talking about what each person does for a living but that inevitably comes up in conversation at some point.
If you find it difficult to start a conversation then use the fact you are early as an ice breaker. Say something like:
“I think I am a bit early, what time does it start?” or “I see you are early too. Have you travelled far?”
I must admit, I am not a morning person and so getting up at the crack of dawn to attend a business networking meeting over breakfast is hard work for me. Even so, I make the effort to arrive early for as I find it is always time well spent. The networking pros always seem to arrive early.
You know what they say about early birds and worms!