Network Through Conversation
Network Through Conversation

Your Network Will Help You Gain More Opportunities

We live in a world where often it’s a matter of who you know, and not what you know.  Your network presents you with endless opportunities and resources.  While you may be highly skilled in different facets, I’m sure you’re not a master of all trades.

Therefore, you need people who are going to contribute and collaborate with you while on your journey towards success.  In addition, a strong network can help get you connected with very powerful people who will help you get ahead quickly!

Now, we know that speaking to a total stranger isn’t the most comfortable thing to do but it isn’t as hard as it may seem. Whether you are soft-spoken, shy, or lack confidence, we’ve got you covered with a few tips to easily help you break the ice with people and get the conversations flowing.

Start the Conversation

As obvious as this sounds, this is definitely the hardest part. Foremost, let go of the nervousness and the idea that you’re being awkward. As humans, we’ve evolved as social beings. Be genuine and be yourself. Put on a smile and show your enthusiasm. Start with a simple introduction by saying “Hello, my name is” and stick your hand out for a handshake. Additionally,if it makes you feel better, do this with a friend and introduce each other to help you feel more comfortable.

Ask Personal Questions

Stay away from generic conversations. There’s nothing more awkward than forcing a conversation with randomness such as how’s your day or commenting on the weather.  Literally ask them a personal question that will require a detailed response. For example, if you like a certain part of their outfit, ask them what inspired it and where they bought it. Ask open ended questions in which the person can’t respond with a simple “yes” or a “no”. This will keep the conversation going.

Find Common Ground

Through conversation, try and find common grounds. Whether it be in sports, foods, goals, books, career paths, etc. Establishing common ground not only helps you build rapport, but it also makes you more likable because people usually gravitate toward those they can relate to.

Give an Honest Compliment

With so much negativity in the world, you’d be surprised how big of an impact a simple compliment can have on a person. Whether it be their shoes, their outfit, a new haircut, or even just a smile, be sure to give a genuine compliment to someone to set the tone for the conversation. I’ve literally met some of the nicest people with just a simple, “That’s a sharp looking tie (for men) or those shoes are very nice, my wife would love those (for women)”

Ask for a Simple Opinion

Asking someone for their opinion shows that you are interested in what they have to say. It makes people feel like they are being listened to. If you have some questions or doubts about a particular topic, ask them about. For example, if you meet someone in real estate and you’re looking to buy a house, ask them for their opinion about the type of houses they would recommend you look into.

Make Eye-Contact

This is perhaps the most important element in engaging another person. Don’t just hear them, but listen to them!  Making eye contact shows that you are engaged and show interest. Looking away constantly typically means that you are not interested in what they have to say or are just bored out of your mind. Be respectful and give them your undivided attention.

Remember their Name

This is the most important point! Make it your business to remember who you meet. One of the tricks I use to remember names is repeating it at least three times. When they tell you their name make sure you pronounce it correctly, especially if it’s a unique name. Repeat the name back when they tell you it. Throughout the conversation, state their name in a question such as ” So, Bill, What do you think about the student loan debt these days?”. Then end the conversation with their name. “Bill, it was great speaking with you. I’m looking forward to connecting again in the near future. Do you happen to have a business card?”

If you want to become an expert at networking, then we highly recommend you read How to Talk to Anyone by Leil Lowndes. This book will literally help you grow your network dramatically by taking away the discomfort in connecting with people who can literally change your life.

Networking shouldn’t be difficult or intimidating.  So take these tips and practice them.  You’ll soon realize how easy it is to establish relationships and grow your circle.  After all, you never know when you’re going to need to reach out to ask about a potential job opportunity, call in a favor, or simply form a friendship!

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Elliot is a Northeastern graduate and the editor for ElevatedPost. His mission is to help motivate, inspire and teach. His passion is driven by his desire to help others self-improve and realize their untapped potential so they may find success and prosperity.