Networking at its Finest

ASBC TOMHave you ever noticed that some people just seem to have never met a stranger?  Maybe it is because they haven’t, at least not for very long.  And if you are one of those people who just do not know how to walk up to a complete stranger and talk to them then pay attention.  You are about to learn the art of the introduction.

Most business people think that you need to have the perfect, platinum level 37 second elevator speech that you can deliver in your sleep.  While this is helpful it is not what you should automatically launch into when you meet someone.

If you have ever been to any type of business meeting (like a chamber luncheon) you know that most people just cozy up with their friends or business colleges and talk among themselves.  Large businesses are notorious for sending out about a dozen employees who use these types of functions to get a free lunch and to get out of working.  Do not even try and approach any of these people as they will not speak to you and certainly will not hear you if you dare to speak.

Remember the example of the car salesmen who would not speak to a certain customer because they wore shabby clothes.  The salesmen wrongly considered the shabby customer as not worth their time as there was no possibility of a sale.  The manager finally went over to this customer and promptly made a fleet sale.  The customer owned a medical transportation delivery service.  We are all guilty of sizing up prospects and people to see if they are “worth our time”.  You never know who the other person is, who they know, or where they work.  Therefore when you see someone who is alone or in a small group go up to them, poke your hand out, tell them your name, and ask what they do.

The real secret to never meeting a stranger is this – always listen to understand and not to answer.  Listen to the reply of what the other person does and ask about what they say.  “Have you been in that business for a while?  How do you like working there?  Who are you hoping to meet at this function?”  These are all great questions you can ask to show the person you just met that you heard them, you are interested in what they have to say, and that you can and will make introductions to other people they are looking to meet.

Remember to stand at an angle to people so that you are inviting others to join in your conversation.  If you need privacy then set an appointment to meet later.  A networking function is a place for meeting people and lots of them.  Remember it is about meeting them and NOT about them meeting you.  When you put other first you will be amazed as to how they will positively respond.

If you would like to learn more about the art of Networking please watch the video below. 


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