Need better conversations? Sign up for my email list to get a free chapter of my new book, More Than Just Talk.

Looking to add more networking and social events to your calendar? Is it time to get out of the house or office and meet some new people? Need to give your career or business a boost? Make it easier, more purposeful, and more productive by trying out these classic, time-tested strategies and tips.

  1. Choose carefully. Add gatherings and events to your schedule with intention. For example, what will make an event worthwhile for you? Is it the speaker or program? The venue or location? The host or organizer? The potential attendees? The time of day or night? Maybe an event just sounds…interesting or fun. Always a great reason if it energizes and inspires you.
  2. Clarify your purpose and objectives. Before you head out the door ask yourself: What do I want to learn and experience at this gathering? Who do I need or want to meet? What challenges am I trying to solve? Who might have the answers? What questions do I want to ask to generate interesting and purposeful conversations? What do I want to share with others? What value am I willing to offer? Whew! Lots of questions, for sure. But this powerful practice of pre-inquiry literally programs your brain for success.
  3. Prepare to make a great first impression. What can you do to ensure that you’re showing up as the best possible version of yourself? This includes how you’re dressed and groomed and how you carry and conduct yourself. Folks, the pandemic years of wearing “whatever” — rumply jeans, yoga pants, shorts, and outdated attire — are long gone. We are in a new era where it’s definitely time to spruce up again and look professional, polished, and current.  Which brings up another question:  What level of success do you want next — and how would you dress for that part?
  4. Anticipate that something amazing will happen. It’s possible that, in the course of your next networking experience, you could meet someone who has the potential to be your newest dream client, employer, or connection. Worth repeating: show up ready to make that great first impression and have a memorable and purposeful conversation.
  5. Arrive early. Trust me on this. If crowds overwhelm you this will make it so much easier to warm up into the socialization and the energy of the event. Being early may also give you the opportunity to chat with the event hosts, organizers, leadership team, or someone who might be totally encircled by other people later on. The early bird does indeed catch the worm!
  6. Smile, assume positive rapport, and take action. You can do this — and it’s your social duty. Approach someone standing alone. Smile, offer a greeting, extend your hand, and introduce yourself. Have a great opening line or question ready to go. (One of the free resources on my website includes an extensive list of great questions you can try out. You can get that here.) Also, assume the other person will like you. Observe what this attitude does to your confidence and to the conversation. It actually puts everyone at ease.
  7. Divide the conversation pie as you dive deeper into interesting topics. While in conversation, make an effort to listen at least as much as you talk. Ask questions that show appropriate curiosity — and that help move the conversation beyond the usual small talk and into memorable and meaningful territory. Ask about favorite books or role models. Ask for a piece of advice. Ask about the other person’s background or story. Use the words “Tell me more…” You’ll stand out as one of the most fascinating people in the room — and you’ll learn something!
  8. Don’t be too pitchy. It’s okay to say what you do or what you’re looking for, but remember that socializing and networking are about building relationships first. When people know, like, trust, and remember you, they are more likely to do business with, hire, help, and refer you.
  9. Follow up graciously. Connect on LinkedIn with a message that shows gratitude and refers to how you met. Or send a quick email that does the same. It’s okay to remind them of what you do or are looking for. But, again, minimize the selling and don’t randomly add someone to your email list without their permission.  If you want to extend an invitation to coffee or lunch, by all means do so.  Some connections will take off into relationships right away, some will take time to blossom.  Some will stagnate and others will re-emerge. It’s okay!

Want to learn even more? Check out my books The Intentional Networker and More Than Just Talk. Both are award-winning success guides that can help you raise your networking and socializing skills to a whole new level.

Want to learn more about my services and programs? Email me at