We talk about networking a lot, don’t we? Moving in the circles of like-minded people, people with affluence and reputable business establishment, people that can get us to where we want to be.
To engage in successful networking, you need to understand that networking entails you make small talks for starters, shifting to more serious conversations and building relationships. It means you don’t meet a potential valuable person and delve right into business.
So, how do we turn small talks into meaningful conversations?
1. Ask for stories, not answers
Based on an article by Ideas.Ted.com, you should aim for questions that invite people to tell stories, rather than give bland, one-word answers. For example, instead of asking questions like
‘How are you?’ or ‘How was your day’ where the answer will most likely be ‘Fine’;
Ask questions like; ‘What did you do today?’ or ‘How did you end up in your line of work?’. It encourages more conversations and gets rid of mono-syllabic replies.
2. Move the dialogue forward
To look good in front of someone important, we tend to agree with whatever they say; you know, go with the flow. But, what that does is allow the conversation to fade off, instead of continuing. Here’s an example;
Guest: She has a lovely blog.
You: Yes, she does.
Notice how both of you had nothing else to talk about? Instead of finding yourself in such a situation, you can move the dialogue forward with more information;
Guest: She has a lovely blog.
You: Did you know that Linda Ikeji made her money from this same blogging?
Guest: Yeah, I do! Crazy right? How writing nets you millions in revenue each year.
You: It’s crazy. I wonder if the new blogs coming up can make as much as Linda is in 5 years time.
Aha! The conversation just got more interesting.
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3. Avoid the defence mode
It’s important to know that while you’re trying to get to business quickly, you do not put your potential business colleagues on the defensive or edge. Do not start with questions like;
‘What do you do?’ Or ‘What’s your net worth per year, like?’.
Local man, calm down.
‘What are you passionate about?’ or ‘Do you think all men should aspire to be wealthy?’
This way, you not only get the answers you seek, but you also connect with this person in a personal, possibly meaningful way.
4. Don’t be the standard Q and A person
Instead of drilling the person with questions like;
‘Where did you grow up?’ as if you came with a list, which could make the person irritated or suspicious, say;
‘I love that city; why did you end up moving?’ See? You still asked the question, just not in a typical way.
5. Be there
Sometimes, we tend to zone out, when a person is going on and on about something we are not interested in. To gain their respect and trust, you have to listen to them, learn something from all the supposed gibberish and build an actual relationship. So, be in that conversation; Physically, mentally and spiritually.
Are you an introvert? This would work for you. Tell us what you think in the comments section.