Sarah Breymeier
So many times’ Ann and I have asked you to “step outside your comfort zone” in one way or another when it comes to your meeting participation. It’s not about making you UNcomfortable; it’s more about discovering that there are people and experiences you didn’t even realize existed which could benefit you.
You know the saying, “you don’t know what you don’t know”…. well, you also don’t know who you don’t know. You may feel you have made connections with all the individuals you need to continue your path of success; but how can you really know? Until you start to have conversations with people you’ve never met before, there’s no way of knowing if you can find someone who could teach you something new, partner with you in some way, or introduce you to people who could also do those things.
So how do you do it? I am 100% not a fan of the “walk up to a stranger and start a conversation” method. There are few people comfortable doing that (including me) but what’s more important – it’s likely you’re going to make that stranger uncomfortable. So now, someone who could have been very helpful to you, is avoiding you.
Instead, figure out if there is someone you already know who is going to be at the event, reach out to him/her and begin networking together. It’s likely he/she also knows a few other people at the meeting and simply by hanging around you’re going to find yourself in conversations with these new acquaintances. Will they all be winners? Probably not, but you don’t know until you know.
There is a domino effect that takes place when you begin this process; the more people you know, the more they will continue to introduce you to other people they know (and vice versa).
So next time you are going to an event, do a little bit of work to see who you know that’s also going and simply let them you’re going to be there and would like to catch up and then join that person for lectures, lunches, dinners, etc.
Another resource for meeting new people is through your vendors. Avoid feeling that your vendors are constantly trying to “sell you” and begin a true relationship with your rep. You wouldn’t believe how many other DPMs they know and could introduce you to.
Ask your rep to go to the lobby bar with you once lectures are over and have a cocktail and/or an appetizer. Those areas are flocked with people trying to find familiar faces and ready to spark up a conversation.
Your rep may also know of events taking place that include dinner with other DPMs; there are always ways to “get in” on a social event.
If being the social butterfly is not your cup of tea, I get it. But if you put yourself out there and utilize the relationship you already have, you will find the people that fit in with you, make you feel comfortable, and hopefully make you feel inspired!