A great conversation can lead to many opportunities, personally and professionally. Whether you’re comfortable with conversation or not, there’s always room for improvement. By refining your conversational skills, you can become a master of any social situation. I
In part one of this three-part series, we examine networking success.
Networking is great for fostering relationships with leaders in your industry, boosting sales and even finding a perfect asset for your organization. Striking up a conversation at a business event, conference, or local networking group can easily spur a world of potential for your organization.
Easy Steps to Productive Networking
Try approaching a new person or group of individuals. This can be the most intimidating step in the networking process but is necessary to expand your horizons.
Take a deep breath and approach the person you would like to communicate with if they’re not already engaged. Politely introduce yourself and shake hands. Remembering the person’s name is key and is easy if you repeat it. For example, say, “It is very nice to meet you, Joe.”
Ask a question after exchanging introductions to start a conversation. Utilize the setting to frame your initial questions. Ask things like “What brought you to this meeting or event?” or “How do you know the host?” These are good ice-breakers and will make the conversation more comfortable.
To make a meeting really productive, give the individual your undivided attention and keep the conversation going by adding input. Direct the conversation to yourself by offering a compliment or your thoughts and then redirect back to the other person by asking an open-ended question.
Don’t sweat conversation pauses. They’re a natural part of a discussion. Try to avoid pauses with words such as um or ah and refrain from using the word like to fill gaps in your statements. Avoiding these filters is easy if you take a breath to collect your thoughts.
Approaching an individual with confidence is key. Use a firm handshake and remember the person’s name. Start slowly with questions and never interrogate. The goal is to create a quick bond that will make both you and the other individual feel comfortable.
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