Get Your Networking Working With Confident Conversations
Taking the time to prepare BEFORE networking face-to-face or online leads to confident conversations and meaningful connections.
If you’ve ever stressed about talking to strangers at networking events or have found yourself paused in front of your computer screen wondering how to start a conversation within a social network there are simple things you can do.
Before you go to a live networking event or, login to your favourite social network, develop an inventory of open-ended questions and interesting discussion topics that you can leverage to get conversation started with the people you meet.
The key to networking with ease and confidence is to use “open-ended” questions which require more than a one word answer to get the conversation rolling – naturally.
Prepare Opening “Conversation Starter” Questions:
- Do you find these meetings helpful to your business?
- I’m new here. What can you tell me about this group?
- Hi! I don’t think we’ve met yet…I’m Gina Bell, and you are?
- What brought you to this meeting?
- That’s a great pin (suit, scarf, purse…etc), where did you get it?
If you’d like to continue the conversation to get to know them a bit better you can ask them:
- Where are you from?
- How do you keep yourself busy when you aren’t working?
- Where do you work?
- What is it that you do?
- How will I know if I meet someone that could use your product/service?
Notice that these “get to know you” questions focus on the person you are speaking with rather than the organization, or event itself.
According to Susan RoAne, Author of What Do I Say Next? “Small talk is what we do to build to big talk. It is what cements relationships and success.”
Where can you find “Small Talk” Topic Ideas?
- Current Affairs
- Best Selling Books
- Business News
- Industry Trends
Consider your personal interests and areas of expertise to come up with additional topic ideas. Start and develop a journal of interesting topic ideas for future reference.
Good Resources for “Small Talk” Topic Ideas are Local, National & International NewsPapers, TV, Internet, Radio, Magazines, Books, Movies, etc…
Why worry about confident conversations and small talk? Small talk in conversation allows you to find common ground, something in common to spark a connection…this is the catalyst for confident conversations, rapport and the beginnings of developing a win-win business relationship.
Small talk leads to discovering fascinating facts about the people you meet. These facts are the key to becoming a valuable asset in their network and building social equity with them. Based on these findings you can follow up in a memorable way (they’ll be very impressed that you remembered the conversation); make strategic introductions for them, send them information, resources and referrals that will help them and more.
When you become a valuable asset in the network of others, your social equity grows and this always has a positive reflection on financial capital too. What goes around comes around.
1) Listen. Really listen to people and remember the fascinating facts. Write them on the back of business cards, enter them into your contact database notes.
2) Use the information you discover to be a connector and someone of value to THEM. This is true networking.
3) Allow the conversation to unfold organically. (i.e. Don’t grill them with question after question! Get in on the conversation too but again, try to listen more than you talk).
Source : Here!