Have you ever been in a conversation and found that you’ve totally zoned out on what the other person is saying because you are focused on what you want to say next or you are thinking of something that you need to take care of in the office or online? Just how awkward is it when they ask you what you think and you have no clue what they’ve just said? Do you ask a lot of questions about them? Do you make an effort to engage in conversation by asking them to elaborate on something interesting that they’ve said?
Connecting with people and building relationships, the real belly to belly, face to face relationships. Relationships where you can feel the warmth in someone’s voice, where body language and eye contact speak more than any spoken words ever could. Relationships where you feel that connection of the kindred spirit that tells you they totally get who you are because they’ve been there too.
Networking is all about connecting and building relationships. It’s about finding people who are either your power partners (people who have business that would be beneficial to you and/or your clients and vice versa) or connectors (people who really enjoy making and giving introductions for the sheer pleasure of helping people.) Connecting, building, and nurturing these relationships takes time and effort. It also takes the ability to disconnect from your distractions (cell phones, computers, office, etc.) and truly focus on the person in front of you.
Recently I was introduced to a gentleman at an event. The person introducing us went on and on about how wonderful this gentleman is, how successful his firm is, she couldn’t say enough good things about him. There was only one problem…he was texting the entire time I was in front of him. The person who introduced us actually felt compelled to make an excuse for his behavior. I felt uncomfortable for her and politely excused myself as quickly as possible knowing that no matter how good this guy is there is someone else that deserves my business more.
What this gentleman failed to do, what he failed to understand about attending networking events, was the importance of expressing sincere interest in meeting the people in the room. If you are not interested in meeting people and engaging with them on a level that makes them feel like you truly value them, you are wasting your time. You are losing out on a great opportunity to create a network of “public relation specialists” that can introduce you to a whole new group of people you may never have access to otherwise.
Take the time to build your networking relationships, make it about them. If you don’t know where to start or if you would like to improve your networking skills request a free copy of “Networking Tips and Questions that Express Interest” at http://30SecondSuccess.com/contact-us