How To Work A Room


My wife and I recently met someone at a party who made a noteworthy impression on both of us. She greeted us warmly, introduced us to a few other people, showed us where the food and drinks were—and it wasn’t even her party.

It turned out she was following tips from Susan RoAne’s book, How To Work A Room.  We laughed when she told us, because it just sounds so superficial, but she wasn’t at all. Now that I’ve read the book, neither is Susan RoAne.

In fact, RoAne says, “When we work a room . . . we must be keenly aware of other people’s feelings. Ignoring someone because the title on their name tag doesn’t impress us is a cardinal sin.”

Her advice isn’t limited to conferences and parties, either. She also includes pointers for email and virtual chat rooms, which is probably even more important. After all, we may go to one or two conferences a year, and a few parties a month, but we’re online every day.

Here are just a few of her pointers, but I highly recommend the book. There’s nothing superficial about knowing how to make people feel welcome and valued.

  • Learn to approach any event with purpose and enthusiasm.
  • Identify the potential benefits before you go. These benefits can be personal or professional or both.
  • Having fun and meeting new friends can be just as valuable as striking deals. (Striking deals can lead to new friends and be a lot of fun!)
  • Being a resource to others, not just focusing on your agenda, is preferable.
  • We all have something to contribute. If we list our preferences, interests, and experience, we know what we can offer others!
  • As far as results, in the long run, “You never know!”

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