After initiating contact at a networking event (that is after making eye contact, smiling, and saying hello) one of two things will happen.
1) Nothing will happen, as they will just move along. So what? Don’t take it personal. There could be a dozen or more reasons why they did not stop and none of them related to you.
2) They stop and are open to expanding the mere contact into a more meaningful connection.
When this happens, ensure to do these three things…
1) Handshake … Offer your hand in anticipation of a handshake, the true first impression. The handshake should be firm, intersecting your thumb web with theirs. Do not make your handshake too hard – a bone crushing that might serve to imply dominance. Moreover, do not make your handshake too soft – a limp fish that might serve to imply disinterest. Make that handshake firm, but nothing spectacular. Remember, you are best to not be remembered for your handshake as opposed to being remembered for a bad one.
2) Offer Your Name … As you shake hands, offer your name. In so doing, be sure to enunciate you first name clearly. In addition, to further the connection, there are two other reasons as to why this is important. First, unless they are someone you know well, by offering your name you serve to eliminate any potential embarrassment to them for not remembering your name from an earlier encounter. Second, when you offer your name, they are likely to offer theirs in return.
3) Clarify Their Name … When you offer your name, if they do not recite theirs, ask them, “What is your name?” Whatever the case, if they offer their name (whether they did it initially or you had to prompt them), clarify their name aloud. For example,
“Hello, my name is Susan.”
“Great to meet you, Susan. Correct?”
You might also consider clarifying what they prefer to be called (e.g., Do you go by Susan, Sue, or either or?”). These steps will help you better remember their name. In addition, it will subtly imply that their name is important to you.