Social media strategies and e-mail campaigns are an important part of business
marketing but Intuitively, we know there is still nothing more effective at building
quality business relationships than a good old-fashioned face to face meeting.
So why are so many people wasting valuable time when they head to a networking
event? Thousands of phone numbers in your mobile device from cards you’ve collected
means nothing if the folks you really need to connect with don’t pick up the phone
when you call.
We humans feel the rapport in our bodies and minds instantly when we meet
another person that we “like”. In a state of “Positive Resonance,” as Dr. Barbara
Frederickson, author of the book, “Positivity,” calls it, we create quicker and deeper
connections than our online correspondence. Problem is, most people are not
regularly creating this resonance in a networking situation. Not even close.
So what are we doing wrong? And how can we be most savvy when we commit time
to networking? Here’s two ways you can shake up the room:
1. AVERAGE APPROACH: Answering the question “What do you do?” with “ I
am a __________.” It’s human nature to respond to an “I am a _____” statement with a
mental discard, saying to ourselves,“ Well, I don’t need that.” It’s an attempt to
simplify our search for what we do want; we “make room” in our mind by dismissing
you as “Mortgage Broker”” or “Web Designer.” Especially, if we currently have
someone that fills this capacity for us, we have already removed ourselves a bit from
the conversation. You’ve started at a disadvantage!
SAVVY APPROACH: Answer the question only after you learn more about the
other person (See Tip #2). Then, customize your answer.
For example, you find you are talking with someone who publishes a magazine on
finances. You are in Public Relations. So you say, “ Well, I have an incredible lineup
of financial experts that are looking for exposure for their articles!” Now you are not
seen as a “What” (“a PR Person”) but a “Who,” (a valuable resource for his magazine
content.) You have spoken into his world of possible needs.
2. AVERAGE APPROACH: Asking, “What do you do?” Obviously, you want to
know this, but with this question first, you instantly are asking confine someone in a
“box” labeled with his or her occupation. Finding out “Who” they are is a better way
to build rapport.
SAVVY APPROACH: Ask a question to reveal something about them. For
example, “Did you get caught in the storm this morning?” They answer, “ My
husband and I just got the kids on the bus and it started pouring!” (You now know
she is married and they have school aged children.) You will find that by asking to
learn about them folks will usually brighten up a bit. Most of us really do like to talk
If you have been one of the herd (it’s ok, we’ve all done it) asking the “average”
networking questions, it may feel awkward when asking something different. It
takes practice but here are a few suggestions (Hint, asking with genuine curiosity is
the secret to making any of these work!):
“What are you most passionate about?” (Ask with enthusiasm!)
“ What do you have planned for the weekend? Holiday?”
“What’s the best thing that’s happened to you this week?”
“If you could go anywhere in the world tomorrow where would you go?”
Or, start with an observation about them..
“ What a great watch/ shoes/ dress! Where did you find something like that?”
Watch our video to learn more!!!
Leave for your next Networking meeting with the goal of finding out as much as
you can about the folks in the room… not just “what” they do. You may find some of
your best referrals will come from people you instantly build positive resonance
with. And I bet you’ll enjoy yourself a lot more, too!