We all know those people who seem to have no trouble at all connecting with anyone and everyone. Not all of us are blessed with that talent. In business, the ability to network and connect with others is critical.
The great thing is that we are all able to develop the skills to communicate. Even those of us who aren’t born with the gift of gab can form long-lasting connections by following a few simple tips.
- Be open. When you’re really looking to connect with others, the first thing you should do is make sure you’re not sabotaging yourself by subconsciously closing yourself off to conversation. Pay attention to the vibes you’re sending out and the image you’re portraying with your body language.
- Be friendly. This is a no-brainer. However, sometimes, we don’t realize that we may be coming off a little too serious or too professional or wanting to appear as though we’re not “trying too hard”. Just focus on connecting and don’t worry about all that.
- Be yourself. The best way to connect is to be genuine. People can sense when you’re uncomfortable or when you’re trying to be someone you’re not.
- Break the surface. It’s difficult to make a real connection when all you’re talking about is the weather or the buffet at the networking event. Let your walls down and don’t be afraid to have a deeper conversation. We’re not saying you need to reveal your deepest, darkest secrets, but keep the conversation interesting by revealing a little bit about yourself.
- Ask thoughtful questions. Ask the other party meaningful questions. You can follow up simple questions with more complex questions to keep the conversation flowing. Here’s an example: You can ask what they do for work and then ask them what inspired them to get into that field. You can ask them where they live and then ask them what their favorite part of living there is, or tell them your favorite thing about the area.
- Listen to understand. When we’re conversing with someone new, we can struggle to listen entirely because we’re trying to think of what we’re going to say next. Don’t worry about that. Focus on listening and really understanding. You’ll find that when you listen intently, you won’t need to formulate responses. When you have a good understanding of who you’re talking to, your response will be natural.
- Don’t compete. When meeting someone new, we can feel intimidated by their job titles, education, accomplishments or where they are in their lives. Do NOT become a one-upper! There is no need to feel intimidated or inferior to anyone else. We each have accomplishments to be proud of and there are things about you that others will find impressive. There’s no need to put on airs or throw your accomplishments in people’s faces. Be humble and genuine. Acting like a fool will definitely get in the way of forming connections.
There are many reasons why we have trouble connecting with others. Some of us are shy, a little self-conscious, not so great with conversation or new to the whole networking thing. Whatever the reason may be, don’t let anything stand in the way of the success of expanding your social network or your business network! Practice these tips and connecting will become second nature.
Learn more about the culture at Power Business Solutions and the networking opportunities and events the team attends by visiting our website.