We live in an egocentric culture. Many of us are lead to believe, from day one, that the world should revolve around us. It’s all about me, me, me. Well, it sounds great in theory, but it just isn’t true. And if that’s the way you choose to run your business, well…you’re going to fail.
Case in point: networking. If you attend a networking event with the mindset, then you’re wasting your time. We’ve all been there, right? Stuck talking to someone who is obviously there only to hear himself talk. His head is so large, he barely fit through the door. He thinks he’s hot stuff, his company is the end all, be all, and he couldn’t care less what you have to say. He’s there to promote himself only.
Now look, everyone knows we attend these networking functions because we want to grow our businesses. We want to meet people who can help us achieve our goals. Nothing wrong with that. However, we want to achieve these goals by helping one another, and thereby building a community.
Which leads me to the point that the title of this article is driving home. The point that the big head guy everyone hates at the networking function fails to realize…
It’s Not How Much You Talk, But How Well You Listen
When you attend these meetings, everyone’s blabbing and promoting themselves. It’s the nature of the beast. However, it’s not very likely that you will talk your way into a mutually beneficial business relationship. However, if you make a point to listen to others, then they are going to feel more valued and be more likely to remember you.
Of course, it’s not just the act of listening, but what actions you can take if you do listen. For example, if you listen well during a conversation, you can follow up with questions for the potential connection. Through these follow up questions:
- The other party feels valued. You are obviously listening and interested in what they provide.
- You can find out more about how they can assist you in your business endeavors.
- The two of you may come across ways in which you can help one another.
- You build trust. With so many people throwing out BS at these get-togethers, it’s hard to know if there is anyone you can really trust. People are more likely to trust the one showing genuine interest.
- You can make a true personal connection.
Ways to Improve Your Listening at Networking Events
Listening doesn’t come naturally to most of us. After all, we want to talk because we feel the need to be heard. So here are a few ways you can consciously become a better listener.
- Keep eye contact. Look at the person that’s talking to you. If you’re constantly gazing around the room as you talk, the person you’re engaging with will feel like you are disinterested in the conversation.
- Put away your cell phone. Thanks to our awesome smartphones, the art of conversation is dying because we are constantly distracted b the beeps and chirps. Resist the urge to text, email, and tweet during your networking events.
- When you respond, repeat something important they said. This shows that you are actively listening, rather than tuning them out as you wait to make YOUR point.
Do you find yourself to be a good listener at networking events? Or are you prone to talk the entire time? Remember, conversation works both ways!
This article is written by Mickie Kennedy, founder of eReleases (http://www.ereleases.com), the online leader in affordable press release distribution. Download a free copy of the PR Checklist – a 24 point list of Press Release Dos and Don’ts here: http://www.ereleases.com/prchecklist.html