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June 5, 2010 11:00 AM

The Careerist: Working the Room

Posted by Vivia Chen

Business development is a chore. And trying to do so by plunging headfirst into a room full of strangers is tough--almost as brutal as going to an all-college mixer with the goal of coming out with a steady for the next four years. Like college mixers, the odds aren't great that you'll find true love. But it happens.

Steven Bennett, a partner in Jones Day's New York office, has offered up some pointers on "working a room" in the current issue of The National Law Journal. His advice is surprisingly user-friendly.

One of his first commands: Do your research. Look at the event guest list and decide who you want to hit up. The goal, he explains, "is to find a few good quality contacts, and to spend enough time with each to learn about their needs and interests, and leave a favorable impression."

Next: Case the joint. "Crowded rooms tend to produce clumps of people, often difficult to penetrate. Look for opportunities on the fringes of the room, or in the entrance hall," Bennett writes.

Click here for more of Bennett's advice. Like The Careerist, you just might see some parallels to speed dating.


If you have topics you'd like to discuss, or information to share for The Careerist, e-mail chief blogger Vivia Chen at VChen@alm.com.

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