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Breaking the ice

If I don't like networking, how can I make it easier to talk to strangers? 
Here are three ideas to consider:

Take charge of your table.
Whenever you find yourself at a table of strangers, become the "table moderator." Suggest that everyone introduce themselves and exchange business cards. Then listen carefully as the introductions are made, and make mental notes about the people you'd like to get to know better or follow up with after the event.

Use the buddy system and network in pairs.
Being introduced by someone else makes conversation easier, especially if you're shy about meeting new people. Be sure to return the favor by giving quality introductions to your colleagues as well.

Make your nametag a conversation-starter.
Don't just write your name on your nametag. Put your company name and web address (URL) there also. It will encourage people to ask about it, and plant a little seed for them to visit your web site, too. 
Brain Trust contributor: Author of Marketing Creative Services On-line, Self-Promotion On-line and her newest, Stop Pushing Me Around
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AskJim ID: 1587