5 ways to be the person everyone wants to meet at any event
The phrase ‘it’s not what you know, it’s who you know’ has been around for decades, and in many ways still rings true today. This is especially true when seeking a job, opportunity, or even a romantic partner.
But in the age of networking transforming into social networking and adding an online component, there is a new piece of the puzzle:
It’s who knows YOU.
For those of us who are working to expand our social circles or form friendships, relationships, or professional connections at a variety of events, how do we approach them in the most effective way possible?
1. Make eye contact consistently
If you pay attention to most people at events, or in public in general, you’ll notice they are actively avoiding interaction with just about everyone. Whether they are on their phone, reading a book, or just looking at the ground – most people want to be left alone.
However, at parties or events, it can be assumed that most people are there to actually BE social. However, it’s intimidating for most, and they will continue their tendencies to shy away from interaction.
By being the man who has his head up and makes eye contact with the people he passes by, it shows people you are in your element and are comfortable with social interactions. This makes you more approachable – because it shows you won’t be rude or mean if they try to start a conversation with you. People are drawn to confidence and self-assuredness, which will make them more curious about what your story is.
2. Talk to everyone like they’re your friend
One of the things that holds most people back from interacting with others is the automatic assumption that this person is somehow above you in caste or social status. We feel like we will be bothering them if we say hello or interact.
The first thing we need to do (in all areas of life) is to stop putting ourselves below others. Everyone is human. Everyone has fears, flaws, weaknesses, challenges. Nobody is perfect nor are they as well-put together as they project themselves as.
Once you realize this, it will help to temper your nerves and you will be able to casually spark up a conversation with someone whether you are waiting for a drink at the bar or casually passing in the hallway.
Additionally, talking to a wide variety of people will send the message that you are NOT just there to be a social climber, you are there to have fun and interact. This will make people wonder who you might be and how you “know” so many different types of people. Another trait that will draw them to you.
3. Look to provide value in EVERY interaction
It’s no secret that most people are always looking to figure out what YOU can do for THEM. This is another reason why people avoid social interaction, because they don’t want to feel like they’re being poked and prodded for advice or introductions every 2 seconds.
Here’s another self-actualization you need to make: EVERYONE needs SOMETHING that YOU have.
It doesn’t matter how successful, or well-dressed, or well-educated someone is…you have a different upbringing, background, set of life experiences, and outlook on life than they do.
Once this realization is paired with the previous point that nobody is perfect, you’ll come to understand that everybody has a problem they are looking to solve. If you can ask open-ended questions and seek to provide value or a solution, people will start being drawn to you rather than avoiding you.
4. Be overdressed
As Oscar Wilde said, you can never be overdressed or over-educated. I’m not telling you to wear a tuxedo to a happy-hour mixer, by any means, but the idea is to put a little extra attention to detail into what you’re wearing.
My weapon of choice has always been fancy suit jackets. I have a camo-print tuxedo jacket, midnight blue and black tuxedos, a red dinner jacket, a white dinner jacket, and the list goes on…
Each piece was bought for a specific event to suit the occasion and to stand out in a classy, confident way. The last thing you want is to be Lloyd and Harry from Dumb & Dumber in your bright blue and orange tuxedos, but the thing you DO want is to show that you’re secure enough to push the envelope in a way that is going to make people want to know what your story is.
Plus, a unique piece (whatever that might be for you) is always a great conversation starter.
5. Know your audience, and know your shit
Where are you headed? What is the crowd going to be like? What are they likely to be talking about? Are you well-versed and properly informed on topics of conversation that are likely to come up?
It’s important to be well-rounded in life in general, not just for the sake of mingling at events, but if you can focus your attention on the proper subjects ahead of time, this will do a few things for you:
- It will make you more confident to get into conversations because you won’t be caught off guard by unfamiliar topics.
- It will make it more likely that groups will form around you because more people can join in and want to hear your thoughts.
- It will put you in a position of authority and have people wanting to set up meetings to continue the conversation.
If you can translate these concepts into all areas of your life, your confidence level will gradually begin to increase as you become more knowledgeable and well-known in your circles. People will start reaching out to you for opinions or advice which could turn into consulting jobs for you, or new opportunities in general.
You will become more and more naturally confident as you successfully put yourself into these situations and subsequently become more comfortable doing it more often – keep in mind, the vast majority of people you meet will be scared shitless by the thought of doing half of these things, which is a bonus point that makes YOU stand out above the crowd.