Navigating Networking: Breaking into the Crowd

Joining A Group Conversation 
When I first moved to New Jersey I was so excited to learn about my neighborhood association. What a great way to meet people. I replied yes to the first event and arrived excited to meet all my future new friends. When I got there I realized everyone already knew each other and were immersed in conversation and perhaps not so interested in meeting new people.

Not to be discouraged, I looked for an opening in a group. When I showed interest in the conversation I found people widen the circle to let me in. Breaking into a group is hard, but most of the challenge is in our mind. We are worried it won’t work or we are not wanted or we will come off as pushy so we just don’t try or we make a weak attempt and affirm our self-fulfilling prophecy.

A key to being effective here is doing it with certainty and confidence. Show intent, smile, and speak up. Consider these entryways:

–       Put your hand on the shoulder of someone where there is space to enter the group. Then face and smile at them. This will make physical space for you in the group.

–       Admit that you are ease dropping and make a comment about the conversation.

–       Ask a question related to what they are talking about

–       Look for a break in the conversation and simply introduce yourself or ask to join.

Try these ideas to enter an established group conversation and when you see them work – it will increase your confidence to do it with ease.

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