Once I thought networking was all about introducing yourself. But after some contemplation, I realised it worked best for me when I introduced others. And got that right. And that took some doing.
The first time I got it wrong was when I had just met a beautiful girl at a dance. I introduced her to my friends name only and then walked away.
But I got it right at my 21st. With three groups of friends attending no-one knew anyone. I spent my night introducing everyone to anyone. Later I heard that everyone said they had a good time. And later I found that new friendships were made that night. I didn’t know what I did.
But it wasn’t until I was the regular recipient of bad introductions that I started to work out what to do. Often and frequently, I would be introduced to new people name only. The next few moments would be really awkward.
We would look at each other and decided who was speaking first. Normally I would ask an opening question and the conversation would begin. Oftentimes the conversation ceased.
I did know that when I introduced myself, I would ask questions and find a common thread to start a conversation. For example, at a party, “how do you know the birthday girl?”
And then I got it right and worked out just how. This time, I was at a function. And I was with someone who didn’t know anyone and wanted to network. I had to get it right. So I would introduce my friend, name only. I would then describe my friend’s background. Then I would draw a connection between that and the person being introduced. Then I would be quiet. The next five minutes or so I listened and learned. And later on I realised just what I had done.
Now I know why. Now if I could go back in time and reintroduce myself to that beautiful girl…