Ever have the networking equivalent of a glass of water: it has substance, but no flavor? This episode is all about those conversations you have that don’t feel like a connection at all. Luckily, it’s also about how to have better conversations, and how to curate a network that not only refers you but refers you clients that are a perfect fit.
Why is that important for business?
If you have a conversation that is more than just a surface conversation, you each bring certain life experiences and perspectives. But if there is no curiosity present at all, there is little to build on for the conversation. It is like an electrical circuit: it is not until the other wire comes and completes the connection that you actually have an electrical circuit. There can’t just be one wire connected.
And it is frustrating to experience this lack of interest, not because of a need for attention from the other participant, but because you feel cheated out of an opportunity to make a connection.
The whole reason people network is to build a business, together. If you don’t have a sense of someone, you won’t develop these relationships, and you won’t remember them well enough to refer them. And the more you understand each other, the more likely you are to get clients that are a perfect fit for you as well.
This isn’t pointing to a need to ask more questions, but to ask deeper ones.
Curiosity is walking a bit more slowly and looking for rabbit holes that may be interesting. It’s about digging deeper beyond the first question. It is about the third question; it is about unexplored or unexpected territory. It is even about asking what might seem like an obvious question – one you think that you know the answer to – and leaving space for someone to say something they haven’t said before.
This is especially valuable for people who don’t like networking and meeting people. Being curious is easier. If it feels uncomfortable to talk about how great you are – GOOD! It should be uncomfortable, because that’s not genuine engagement, and that isn’t what networking should be.
The secret to finding out about people is a (sort of selfish) desire to actually enjoy the conversation. For that to happen, you have to find out something about them that makes you genuinely interested in that conversation. This isn’t about faking interest.
It’s also okay if you simply don’t “zing” with every person. Not every person is a fist bump person. Not everyone is zingable. This is about a practice of creating those conversations, about being aware of your contribution to the conversation, and about curating your network (a zingable network).
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