Success comes from building real relationships and having meaningful conversations
Conversation is an art and like any art some people are more practised in this than others but whatever your skills, this can be developed further through practice and have the art of meaningful conversation become a good habit.
Let the chit chat or small talk work for you. For some, polite conversation about trivial and unimportant subjects can be annoying and pointless with many people finding it forced and uncomfortable, but the truth is, we really can’t do without it.
Start with some open-ended questions
Hi, nice to meet you, I’m [your name].
What brought you here?
How do you know X? [X is the name of the host or the organiser]
These will get a conversation started, before you know it you’re talking and laughing and you can eventually ease into business talk but how do you keep things going from there? It’s hard to jump into a business conversation with someone you’ve only just met, you have to merge your small talk into something that keeps the other person interested, so this is where the small talk is vital you are looking for that common interest or link to something to take the conversation to the next step.
Do NOT “work the room.” It’s all about quality, not quantity, focus on making just a few solid connections.
Don’t be afraid to join in. Observe the body language, if two are deep in conversation, don’t butt in, instead look for an open group of two or three and ask if you can join them.
Treat people with respect. Have you ever had your conversation interrupted, by a person who only talks about themselves, given a business card, only to watch this person walk off to search out their next victim? Treat new business relationships as you’d treat your friends.
Be yourself, be genuine – no one wants to feel used. The people you connect with when you are authentic are the ones you’ll want to stay in touch with, build rapport and trust, this is the foundation on which business is built.
Show interest and be curious and sincere. Get to know the person. People generally like you more when you genuinely like them.
Talk about ideas. There’s something very refreshing about having a meaningful conversation with someone you respect and one who you are able to exchange ideas and ask for their opinion.
Be a problem solver and add value. If you add value to someone’s life (or business), they’re more likely to keep you as a contact or business friend. A great (and memorable conversation) is one that adds value.
Shift to a friendship mindset then you will actually enjoy making connections. It’s wrong to assume that the best networkers and those who are natural extroverts brimming with charm and personality, the truth is that the shy introvert, who would sooner have one-to-one interactions, are just as successful at making good business connections and it’s all about trust, trust being established when people are genuinely being themselves.
As entrepreneurs, making good quality business connections is essential for business growth, and as opportunities come at any time, we need to be like boy scouts and be prepared, so don’t bother with gathering business cards, success comes from building real relationships and having meaningful conversations.
Thrive – developing your connections for growth
If you want to keep up to date with our networking hints and tips or would like to find out more about how to make business connections and networking in Norwich and Norfolk, please contact us firstname.lastname@example.org or 01603 597727