Author Peter Bregman recently found himself awkwardly standing in the corner at a party where he knew no one. We've all been there, right? But rather than leaning on his normal roles — writer, consultant, speaker — he took a shot at talking to people without instantly drawing on those familiar crutches. As it turned out, the experiment went quite well.
Photo by JD Hancock.
Most of us aren't big fans of conversations that kick off with "Hi, I'm Adam! I have a business! Let me tell you about it!" As Bregman notes:
[I]t's a mistake to launch in to your business plan when you meet someone new — even at a conference where the point is to peddle your business plan. People invest in you first, then your plan. So show them you first, then your plan.
That's precisely why shedding our roles — at least initially — even at a conference and even if there is something we want from others, is such a good idea.
Sounds about right. In his personal experiment, Bregman didn't pitch himself to everyone he met, but he did have a few productive conversations — which sounds good to us.
How to Attend a Conference as Yourself [Harvard Business Review]