Jackie Kellso

Archive for August, 2010|Monthly archive page

Smart Business Networking: Show Interest in Others First

In assertiveness, business networking, business relationships, career, coaching, communicating, communication, communication skills, executive coaching, executives, leadership, networking, people skills, professional behavior, sales, training, Uncategorized on August 1, 2010 at 7:43 pm

I met a professional image consultant recently, who’d had her own successful business for some time. I was eager to discuss the industry and to share experiences with her, thinking I was in for a wonderful conversation!  I enthusiastically asked, “When did you discover that this was your calling?”  She smiled, clearly delighted with the question.  Unfortunately, for the next three to four minutes, she didn’t stop talking about herself — not once — to include me, and went on and on about herself.

Suddenly, she turned her head to the left, then back at me, and said, “You know, I’d like to hear this.” She then turned her body away from me and joined another conversation. Just like that.  A little lack of social grace?  Self-absorption, perhaps? I laughed later that evening; shortly after our encounter I was introduced as the guest speaker of the event.  At the end of my presentation she ran over to me and asked for my business card to talk some ‘alliance we might form.’ It was too late. I simply said, “Sorry, I’m all out of cards.  May I have yours?”

This was probably the rudest situation I’d encountered at a networking function, but the truth is that most people don’t show genuine interest in the people they are meeting.  Their goal is to obtain business cards, which is a backwards pursuit.  I assure you, no one sets-out to be your business connection.  There has to be a perceived pay-off.  So, it’s best to start off on the right foot and make the effort to build new alliances.

Here are some tips to successfully meet and make quality connections:

1. First show curiosity — ask the other person questions about  him/herself before you try and talk about you.

2. Ask meaningful questions that are deeper than just, “Where do you work?”  Find out what motivates, inspires and drives the other person.

3. Offer help and support.  Once you have some information, you might know someone who can assist him/her along the path. This way, you can become a follow-up item on his/her to-do list.  Smart, heh?

Invite people to speak about themselves, first.  Your turn to talk about yourself will come and the wait will be worth it.

Happy networking!


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