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Networking tip 21: Have something to say

Successful net-workers are rarely at a loss for words, not necessarily because they are (by nature) charismatic extroverts, but because they are prepared.  They never leave home without having considered how they might best approach people.  You can be one of them if you:

Create (and practice) a personal self-introduction, which describes who you are and what you do in a way that is informative, interesting and memorable.

Brush up on some topics of interest that are likely to appeal to the people you will be meeting. Appropriate subjects can include virtually anything:  current events, sports, movies, books, food, celebrities, business news—even political scandals, as long as you know your audience.

Determine your objective beforehand and then do your homework.  For example, if attending an event with known speakers or attendees, read their bios and research their companies. You might just find something of interest, or at least a link steering you towards the formation of an intelligent question.

Once there, make things easy for the other person.  For example, if two people are standing next to you and one smiles, says hello and then makes a casual comment, while the other person avoids eye contact, which of the two are you more likely to strike up a conversation with?  

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