My Mixing, Mingling & Maximizing Your Network workshop is one of my most requested sessions. How to make small talk and the ability to work the room is an art to develop and statistically more of a need to know than ever. And now, working the virtual room requires a new set of mingling and networking skills.
Virtual Happy Hours are happening all the time in our current COVID-19 situation. People are saying a virtual gathering is better than none, and it is good for morale.
Here are a few virtual mingling tips:
- It may be virtual, but the participants will notice your dress, your behavior, and your attitude just as if you were in person!
- Making only an appearance requires letting your host know in advance that you want to join in virtually, but won’t be able to stay for the entire event.
- The very best mingler only talks about 20% of the time and is exceptional at asking open-ended questions to get everyone else talking. Help with the overall engagement and bring others into the conversation.
- Be careful with “stepping” on the words of others - don’t be interruptive. Be mindful of the needed 2-3 second pause before speaking – make sure they have finished with their comment.
- In place of giving your business card, exchange email addresses to provide contact details after the event. The host of the event will also have a registration list that could be mass communicated.
- Be ready with a few different 30 and 10-second commercials – your self-introduction. A self-introduction provides just enough information to keep it interesting as well as enabling the asking of questions.
- In advance of any event, do your homework – research who will be there to plan and prepare for conversational topics of interest – to them! And certainly pre-plan meaningful questions designed to target your objectives.
- Before going to an event or any group meeting, plan in advance at least 2-3 exciting topics to talk about that are non-polarizing yet will showcase your ability to make small talk.
- Non-verbal communication – avoid all fidget signals of boredom, nervousness, or discomfort – yes, we can see you, albeit virtually! And pay attention to the body language of others - their signals are very telling if you're taking the time to notice.