17 ways of breaking the networking ice

Networking can be extremely helpful for individual and for organization, but many people who appreciate the necessity for networking find that their personality and temperament make them indifferent, if not hostile, to the concept.

In her book “Networking for People Who Hate Networking,” Devora Zack gives a list of ideas to break the ice at an event that might offer networking opportunities. Here are some examples:

* When in line for food, hand a plate to the next person in line.

* Before getting a drink or a snack, ask if anyone else would also like something.

* Compliment unique items (glass, jewelry, etc.).

* Make a friendly inquiry about an interesting name of job title.

* Offer to provide follow-up information in areas of interest.

* Compliment special qualities.

* Ask about accomplishments.

* Offer to help out (nametags, reservations, gathering materials).

* Honor preferences (standing/sitting, inside/outside).

* Make a point of introducing people who would connect.

* Offer to pass along someone’s information to others as relevant.

* Defer to the group.

* Inquire whether there is something that can be done to help break down the event upon conclusion.

* Jump in to help (spills, balancing plates, dropped items).

* Be respectful (give space, don’t smoke, step away of needed).

* Maintain a calm exterior when faced with unexpected change.

* Follow through with offers or promises made.