When faced with a room full of strangers my goal is to engage people in high quality discussions. Ultimately, I would like to invoke the following response from the other person I am talking to – “Isn’t that interesting?” Yes, my goal is to be as interesting to the other person as I can be – in eight seconds or less.
By being quick about what I need to say, I don’t turn people off by triggering their wall. You know the wall, we all have seen it and felt it’s coldness as the person you are talking to turns from open to closed and is now rebuffing your approach and sincerely wishing you would go away.
After you have established interest – but only for a few moments – you can choose to take a leadership position by turning the conversation around and becoming more interested in the other person’s business.
One approach I favor is to introduce myself as an expert. This usually invokes a positive response – such as wow, isn’t that interesting. Keep in mind that I proudly and confidently introduce myself as an expert. Introducing yourself as an expert with any less than an aura of confidence is not a great way to make a first impression.
Once I am done with my intro of eight seconds or less, I quickly ask the simple question “What is your expertise?” ..quickly followed by another question …”And for you do you supply or provide these products or services too?. This approach usually spawns enthusiasm with the person I am talking to, which frankly is exactly the reaction I am hoping to get because eventually this person will ask me more about my business. Dramatically increasing the chances of this person remembering me and my business. Why? because when they ask, they are now ready and open to learn.
To clarify, here is my simple recipe when in a room full of strangers. Take the quality not quantity approach. Be an Expert for eight seconds, then be more interested in the other person by asking questions. If you simply follow this advice, I believe you will succeed in developing a valuable network and in doing so lay the foundation for a positive reputation in the marketplace you sell into.