‘So…do you come to these things often….?
‘How are you finding it….?’
Have you ever been in this position before? Struggled to keep a conversation going without the long awkward silences? Unfortunately, not all networking situations run smoothly. Whether you are hosting an event, or attending your work Christmas party, the festive season is the ideal opportunity to make new contacts or strengthen existing business relationships. With this in mind, we provide you with part two of our ‘Christmas Networking Survival Guide’.
Here are 6 top tips to help you avoid conversational drought and make the most out of your networking encounters this Christmas.
- Be interested NOT interesting. Trying to be interesting often equates to being boring, as you will be the one doing most of the talking.
- Ask open questions and really listen to the answers. Let these responses be the guide for your next question. It will demonstrate you are genuinely interested in them.
- Don’t talk about work and avoid all jargon. Unless this topic is invited by your guest, try and avoid it. If your purpose was to be formal, you’d be better off in the board room. Hosting events is about building relationships and rapport. You do that by getting to know someone.
- If you’re really struggling to get the conversation going, use the ‘ask & reveal’ technique. For example, ‘I loved the atmosphere in London during the Olympics this summer. Did you manage to watch any events?’ Revealing something about yourself first, helps the other person to answer.
- Have an answer to the question, ‘and what do you do?’ Simply stating, ‘I’m an intellectual property lawyer’, will rarely invite understanding or further investigation. Try to imagine describing what you do without actually using those words i.e. for the above example, say something along the lines of, ‘I help people protect their ideas from theft.’ Focus on the benefits that you offer.
- And finally…don’t do all the talking. If you leave the conversation not knowing very much about the other party, you’ve probably done the majority of the talking! As a general rule, talking about yourself makes you feel good. If you feel good, you are likely to associate that feeling with the people you are around. So, if you can get a guest talking about themselves, they should have a good time and associate that with your people.