I get a lot of questions around:
1. How do I interrupt a group that is talking?
2. How many people should I meet?
3. How do I know who are the senior people?
4. How do I make small talk?
1 - At a large event (specifically for networking or not) it is understood that folks are there to meet and chat. You don’t need special permission. It is socially acceptable to walk up to strangers. It might be uncomfortable to do so – but you’re not breaking any unspoken taboo. (I have no idea why the Victorian notion that one must have a mutual acquaintance perform an introduction before two people can speak together still endures.)
Don’t think of it an interruption; you’re there to join the conversation. You might spend the first 5 minutes listening (always a good plan) before offering an opinion.
2 – How many folks do you want to meet? How many areas in your network require filling? For many do you have capacity to do follow up?
It’s not quantity; it’s quality. Why you are there is more important than how many business cards you carry away at the end.
3 – Talk to everyone. Senior people were junior once. The way to senior people is through their teams. And if you are only looking up in your search for information/ideas/mentors then you’re missing 99% of the resources available to you.
4 – You’ll have to wait for the next post :-)