A typical activity of any event organizer or attendee is to meet people who are best described as corporate relatives. This means that you do not have personal relationship with these people except professional relationship. Some of them are even total strangers whom you must liaise with to achieve your goals.
So how do you present yourself as an interesting individual who knows his or her onions? We have some workable strategies for you, whether as a business event organizer or attendee. These tips will be handy for the meet and greet session at your next business event.
Top meet and greet strategies at your next business event
1. No bear hug or loud kisses
Do you really want to do this at business events? Please stop. Even if you surprisingly bump into your old course mate, do not give them bear hugs. The truth is that bear hugs are embarrassing for some people, and for others, they’d rather not just have it for reasons best known to them. Some people do not like it for medical reasons. When you hug them surprisingly from behind, they might experience shock because of an existing health condition or feel choked due to the tightness of the hug.
Loud kisses at business events? I’d show you the door if I were the organizer, and if you were the organizer, I can bet with you that you would have created a lasting bad impression by being too noisy.
So, when you are at a business event, consider the fact that majority of the people you meet are strangers from different backgrounds of morals, medical history and greeting culture. Stick to the standard and be a good host/attendee.
2. No extended handshakes and enthusiastic hand pumps
When you give extended shakes, you appear to your receiver as a creepy individual. Yes, it is that bad. How could you just do that? If what you mean to do is appear confident, then a firm handshake is what you should give. Smile and offer your hand of collaboration in the form of a firm handshake while saying your greetings. Always remember that a firm handshake is not the same as an extended handshake.
You do not want to crush the bones of an arthritic fellow, do you? So, aside staying within the norms of etiquette, you should be so conscious of your environment that you are in constant reminder that it is made up of people with diverse backgrounds. And you can never fathom what is going on with most of them. Be guided.
After shaking hands, withdraw your palm, without handpumps. Holding on for too long will make you appear less confidential and unsure of yourself, thereby making your new acquaintance uncomfortable and suspicious of your motives.
3. No backslapping
Backslapping as a matter of fact is frowned at in several countries. Typical examples are Japan and South Korea, where any act of physical touch when greeting someone is considered as personal violation. While back-slapping might be used a symbol of encouragement or congratulatory message among team members, it is not ideal to get too close to strangers in the name of greetings. You might come across as an annoying individual or someone with hidden agenda which can make people feel uncomfortable around you throughout the business event.
4. No loud greetings
The only thing that should be loud at a business event is the sound system. Even if you were the event organizer and you talk loudly into the microphone, it would seem as if you were shouting at the crowd. Compared to offering loud greetings, the other attendees will see you as an uncouth individual.
Do not shout across the room if you suddenly see someone you recognize. If you are unable to reach them immediately, hold your excitement till the end of the program and walk up to them to say your greetings.
If the event attendance is huge and you fear that meeting the person after the event might not be possible, you may quietly walk up to them, or send a text message to let them know you are also at the event and would like to meet. Whatever you do, avoid getting carried away which could cause you to embarrass yourself. Again, be guided.
5. Know the mode of greeting of your host country
When you are in Rome, you must behave like the Romans. You won’t believe the number of different mode of greetings we have. See this article and you will be surprised at the way people greet each other, some are almost strange. But, slow down.
Just as those modes of greeting appear strange to you, is exactly how yours appear strange to them. So, you need to get familiar with how the people in your host country greet each other. When you greet people with the way they are familiar, you are passing the message that you are interested in their culture and ready to learn. This will make them feel comfortable around you. This gesture can also open many doors for you as there will be people who are willing to show you around and help you settle in till you achieve your aim of travelling to the country.
6. Dress the part
Simply put, dress corporate, or at least corporate casual. You cannot be overdressed but you can easily be under-dressed. Being under-dressed may cause you a damaging first image. You are surely familiar with the saying that first impressions last longer. And the first thing that people notice about it is how you are dressed. No one is interested in what you are wearing, but they are more interested in your appearance.
If you are attending a business event without specified dressing code, use your discretion to determine what to wear. If for example, you are attending a tech event, the dress code will surely not be seriously corporate. This however, does not mean you should just throw on a tank top and ripped jean. You must make sure to look presentable – a round-neck tee shirt on dark colored pant, topped with blazer is good to go.
If the event is strictly in a corporate setting where you might even have to pitch or address the audience, you must dress corporate – suits, jackets, not too bright colored, your hair-do, fashion accessories and foot wear should all comply with what is acceptable in the corporate world.
If you are unsure of the event setting, why not think outside the box and pack extra clothes. For this option, you must arrive the venue early enough to see things for yourself and decide if you need change of wears or not. Remember you are on the quest to make a lasting impression on your prospects, future investors and corporate acquaintances, so give it what it takes and do it well.
7. Introduce from the highest to lowest
When introducing yourself to a group of people, start from the person with the highest rank in that group and work downwards. This will show that you acknowledge the organization’s hierarchy and know who is who. Avoid name dropping and vague introductions. If possible, add one more sentence to the information they already have about you. Don’t just recite your name and position. Tell them what you do and why you are at the event. Remember to keep it brief. While introducing yourself, shake hands firmly, make eye contact and smile.
8. Apply the charm freely but with discretion
Too much of everything is bad, including being too charming. Imagine you are at a business event as an attendee and one of the organizers won’t just stop being too friendly. Fine, he/she might be doing it to make you feel at ease and enjoy the event, but the fact is that he/she does not need to work so hard. No one is attending the event to socialize like if they were at a birthday party.
The strategy that event organizers need to impress their attendees is to be on time, deliver good content and make sure the event environment is conducive.
Likewise, as an event attendee, be careful not to appear creepy by trying so hard to be likable. All you need do is apply the tips above and you are already accepted into the fold.
Dress well to suit the event type, know what exactly you hope to achieve by attending the event, pay attention to the speaker and avoid cutting in when in a conversation with someone.
Smile and show the human side of you but do not overdo it. Avoid laughing out loudly, stay composed and be aware of your environment.
If you are able open conversations either in a group or with just another person, do not make the conversation all about yourself. Be interested in what the other person has to say to. And you know what? The other person is also aware of this fact, that they should be careful of being too concerned about themselves, so you will have the opportunity to say your story.
However, even with this opportunity, do not talk too much about you or your project. You don’t want to appear as overbearing or someone too full of themselves.
Other top meet and greet strategies you must apply at your next business event
9. Always remember people’s name
Take mental notes and attach peoples name to what they are wearing, or try to match their names to their appearance (sshh). If you are unable to do this, write down the names in your notepad and try to memorize them. You don’t want to address Fidelia as Cordelia if you meet her after the event. She would feel so offended, and this might truncate your chances of a good business relationship.
10. Maintain eye contact
When you introduce yourself to someone who is standing, you should also stand to be on the same level with them and maintain eye contact. Your confidence at its peak while you are standing in your full height with a firm handshake and warm smile.
11. Maintain a formal tone
Do not be too fast to address people by their first name. If you are unsure you may ask. But asking too is just being too fast. It is safer to remain former and address them with salutations, before long, they would tell you that you may address them by their first names.
12. Be concise
Have a template of how you introduce yourself. Know what you want to say and how to say it. Your aim should be to make people pick interest in you after hearing about you for just 30 seconds. Let your introduction standout, speak in a clear voice, be concise and do not forget to smile.
13. Slow down on selling
Do not rush to bring out your business card. Selling is the same everywhere, you need to provide value first. So, to sell your charm at business events and make people want to hear from you after the event, you need to pay them attention and show interest in them too.
There is no brick and mortar way to attract this interest other than to be mindful of how you behave during the event. Like we mentioned earlier, do not make the conversation all about you, avoid annoying body contacts, smile, give firm handshakes and make eye contacts.
Do not waste all your efforts by rushing to whoop out your business card. If they do not ask for it after some time, you may bring up the subject of keeping in touch and use that opportunity to suggest contact exchange.
Also, you don’t have to give out your card to everyone you come across. Your business is not for everybody and you should be able to identify who needs your business and who does not need it. Be purposeful in your pitching to avoid burnout with little or no result.
14. Do not ask too many questions
Do not ask too many questions about other’s businesses if you don’t want to be labeled as an idea thief. This does not mean you should not be inquisitive, ask questions but keep it at a moderate level and be mindful of the kind of questions you ask.
Business events are effective tools to achieve any career goal. Is it to develop your skills, network, land dream jobs or seek mentors? There are always big benefits to gain from attending one. Just go with our suggested top meet and greet strategies and you are set for some goals achievement.
Do subscribe below to receive tips and business event notifications from us. We are on a mission to help you achieve your goals either as an organizer or attendee.