Expert Advice On Business Networking And Tips On Developing Your Networking Skills

Networking Tips: 7 Steps to Create Conversations that Connect By Colette Carlson

In business, being able to converse naturally with others is imperative in your success. The ability to know when to initiate a conversation, keep it interesting through effective questions, share your own stories and end a conversation with kindness is an art. Follow the seven steps below to create connection:

Step #1: Show up with confidence. When you’re comfortable in your own skin you make others comfortable. Remember, your life is a mirror of your thoughts, and whatever attitude you take on is what will be reflected in others. If you take the attitude that you bring something to the table, are likable and accepted, you will see that attitude reflected in others. If you act happy and enthusiastic, others will be also.

Step #2: Show up with something to say. Always be on the lookout for material. Although it may sound contrived, I read the Wall Street Journal looking for interesting, timely information that I can share at my next get-together – whether it’s a party, association meeting or business affair. Think about keeping a file that you review before your next event.

Step #3: Begin with a question. Aside from the fact that it shows interest in another, it’s amazing how one simple question can start an entire conversation.

Asking something a bit unusual will also set you apart from the crowd. Rather than asking, “What do you do?” ask, “How do you enjoy spending your weekends?”

Step #4: Find common ground. The fastest way to build rapport is to find something you have in common and build on the interest. Don’t shy away from topics that have absolutely nothing to do with business – they are often the perfect way to create connection.

Step #5: Focus on others. By putting your energy and interest in another person, you are certain to be seen as a great conversationalist. Englishman Raymond Mortimer once said that the United States conversation “is not tennis, in which you return the other fellow’s serve, but golf, in which you go on hitting your own ball.” To be memorable, keep the ball in the air and create a back and forth volley with conversation.

Step #6: Be inclusive. The fastest way to kill a conversation is to exclude others in the group from participating. Be certain to give eye contact to everyone in the group, not just the person who may have asked you a direct question.

Step #7: Close a Conversation with Class: When a conversation naturally lulls, take advantage and pipe in with, “It’s been my pleasure talking with you. I hope our paths cross again soon.” Before leaving, be certain to thank all parties responsible for hosting the event. People never forget someone who has expressed gratitude and you look like a class act.
Colette Carlson is a widely recognized speaker and author and is the Communications Coach for Twelve Coaches, the world’s premier business coaching website for small and medium-sized business leaders and entrepreneurs. Along with Colette’s Communications lessons, Twelve Coaches gives you eleven other areas of small business success covered in short, actionable coaching videos. Click here to check them out on the web.

-is there anything you would add to the ideas above?