You Look Like the Most Interesting Group Here - May I Join You?

I recently attended a woman's business event that featured a panel of coaches providing tips on networking. They each had a different focus but they connected their ideas well to each other. The subject matter was more appropriate for younger professionals or those just out of school entering the business world, but I was able to take away a few good reminders, especially for my young professional clients.

One attendee brought up a question at the end on approaching a group of men at a networking event. She is usually the lone woman at male dominated events and wanted to know how to break into a group that looked like they were intensely discussing a topic she might not have particular knowledge on. 

I shared that I grew up with five brothers and as a female engineer I usually found myself surrounded by men at many events throughout my career. I am very comfortable working with them and attending events where I might be the only female in the room. I shared a tip on breaking into a group at an event that I came up with when I found myself in a room of over two hundred oil and gas executives in suits. I was one of the few females and I didn't know a soul. I grabbed my drink at the bar, checked out the reception room, and went up to a group that looked interesting. I said, "You look like the most interesting group in the room, may I join you?" And the answer was, "of course!". Later, I approached a table with a few men sitting at it and asked if I could join them. The answer, again, was "of course!".

For many, approaching a group of strangers, male or female, may be a bit of a risk. But don't be afraid - they are looking forward to meeting you.

If you are at an event and notice a man or woman that appears to be looking for a group to connect with - invite them in. Everyone will be better off for your kind gesture.

If you would like more ideas and tips for networking, e-mail me at I look forward to connecting with you.