Networking me, networking you
Wednesday, August 03, 2011 | Author: Dav

Something I shared internally, maybe also good if it went "external". I'm not the best person out there to approach someone and start a conversation, but I think this is one of those "do or die" kind of things in the world of business (or daily work, its not pleasure, so I'll not lump it in that category).

Most of the time its hard to make the first move. Coming from a technical / IT background, I had to think of steps, test said steps, review, update, and try again. Results of these trials are the holy grail to basic communication and networking with people below.

Q: I don’t know what to say, or how to start the conversation
A: No right or wrong way, but why don’t you start the convo the normal way, by introducing yourself, where / what you do and shaking the other person’s hand. An additional tip is to approach someone you feel comfortable with, is not engaged in any conversation with other people, and also looks lost like you.

Q: Ok, shook his / her hand, now what?
A: You can speak about anything, but since you don’t know the other person, it would be hard to guess a topic that would interest him / her. Stay neutral for now, and maybe talk about the weather. Then, move on to what the other person does / where they work etc.

Q: Check, now there’s an uncomfortable silence for the both of us. Help!
A: Ask them a simple question that’s bound to get them talking, IE: ask them about themselves. You’ve learn what they do from the earlier conversation, maybe try “So how’s business in these days?” or “I don’t come across many people in , is it a very niche / special market?”. Don’t forget to give the other person queues to show that you’re listening, like you agreeing, and maybe nodding.

A: Tell them what you do. Don’t just read from the company brochure

Q: Great, I told them what I do in 10 words. Now its quiet again :(
A: Be truthful. If the other person mentioned something / some feature / concept that you’re not sure of, ask them about it. EG: "You know, I've seen a lot of stuff on Business Intelligence (BI) lately, thing is, what REALLY is BI anyway?"

Q: Sweet! More talking
A: Yes

Q: And?
A: And, don’t forget, introduce people you know, to the person you’ve met. If you came to the function with a group of consultants for example, bring the new person over and introduce them to the party. This can also be based on the wingman concept.

Q: Lastly, what if the other person is BOOOOOOORING and stops talking?
A: Unless you’re attending a function with ONLY TWO PEOPLE, you can always excuse yourself, and go speak to other people. Remember, other people there are just like you, they are also hoping to speak to someone but haven’t had the chance to. The recommendation here is if you excuse yourself, and them bump into the same person later perhaps when you are leaving the function, is to greet the person and say something like “it was nice talking to you earlier, maybe we’ll bump into each other sometime soon”.

The above is not easy, it only comes with a lot of practice, and sometimes you end up in a very short 5 minute conversation. You have to keep working at it. Some people end up liking it so much that they go on to speak to people in non work environments. Or maybe even make a profit out of it.

Maybe I should turn this into a flow chart . . . . .

{Edit - In response to the ONE comment I've received from Hurk, I'd like to present to you a custom flowchart aimed at this blog post}

Click for bigger image

Dav out

We didn't start the fire
It was always burning
Since the world's been turning
We didn't start the fire
No we didn't light it
But we tried to fight it

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On 2:52 pm , Hurk said...

I expect that flow chart in a near future! Great stuff

On 10:49 am , Dav said...

Hurk, when are you going to get back on the blogging-horse?

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