A couple of years ago I was attending a Christmas party when a well known entrepreneur and business owner came up to me and started talking about business networking. Since it’s one of my favorite topics I was happy to oblige.
He asked me the most direct question “ what is the one secret to networking?” Interestingly no one had ever asked me that question before. Most of the literature about business networking concentrates on so-called ‘networking events’ and how you should or should not act and react at those functions. But rarely do they discuss the ‘how to’ of actually meeting people.
Back to my new friend, I said “you have to be first” and he said “what?’ and I repeated myself.
The look I got was one of great satisfaction, the kind you get when someone expects a good answer and gets a great one. I had never said that before and I credit the question itself for the answer.
I explained that and in any situation if you want to network (read meet) with someone, you need to stick out your hand and introduce yourself first. This, of course, seems blindingly obvious yet for many people it is unnatural.
Being first guarantees an introduction. There is no better substitute.