Thursday, January 22, 2009

Working the Room

Why is it that some people seem to “work a room” effortlessly while others shudder at the thought of starting conversations with strangers?  Personality type might make it easier for the extraverts, but it’s common for introverts to walk away from a conference with more business cards than they know what to do with.

The ability to work a room goes beyond personality because anyone can learn how it’s done.  This is not a primer on how to work a room, but there are a few basics.

First, those who start working the room by talking about themselves will last as long as it takes their victims to find an exit-from-the-conversation strategy.  If you have just returned from an Everest expedition, maybe you will keep your audience rapt for a while.  But, regardless of your story, ramble on about yourself long enough and you will eventually find yourself alone in the conversation.

Successful room workers know that we all like to talk about ourselves, so they will give you the opportunity to do so.  But, again, the vast majority of us grow tired of telling our stories, or at least we realize there is a limit.

This is the point at which the ability of those who know how to work a room really comes through.  Every conversation is a multi-point exchange.  Ideally, there is a point for each person in the conversation.  The great room-workers will add their relevant input to the conversation and encourage others to do the same.  A conversation is better when more people make relevant contributions.

Good internet marketing means knowing how to “work the room”.  Other marketing media are generally single-point forms of communication – you send your message to your customers.  Like a room, the internet allows multi-point communications between you and your customers – and amongst your customers.

To be a successful participant in the conversation, or successful internet marketer, you need to encourage your customers to speak.  You must listen to what they say; find out what they seek.  Then you need to respond with the relevant information they need to make the right decisions about your company.

By Stephen Da Cambra

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