8 Tips For Connecting Like A Pro

shutterstock_61277827 Every person you meet has the potential to become a valuable connection. You also have the power to be of service to everyone you come in contact with. In fact, the more generous you are with your time, knowledge and expertise, the more likely that you will become a master connector. The more diverse your network of connections, the more powerful and effective your network becomes. Doors will open for you that might have remained closed otherwise.

But not everyone is comfortable with the idea of networking. It sometimes gets a bad rap as a “pushy sales pitch” or “insincere chatter.” But if you’re in it for the right reasons, then it doesn’t have to be like that. It’s really all about connecting and sharing with others – your knowledge, your network and your compassion. If you look at it as adding value to every person you come in contact with – even if it’s just a smile – then your connecting experience can be transformational.

Now that the weather is warming up and spring is upon us, it’s the perfect time to hone your connecting skills. Let’s look at a few tips to get you started:

Be Prepared – Before you even head to the event, prepare a few questions beforehand to get the conversation going: Simple ones, such as “How are you involved with the organization?” or “What brings you here this evening?” are always a good way to start. If you know of some of the people who are going to be there, do a little research before you go. You may have an opportunity to discuss their business, and intelligent questions are always appreciated.

Be Authentic – You’re not a walking business card, nor are you there to sell yourself. You are there to make connections and be of service to others. Relax, care about the people you meet and ask questions.

Listen More Than You Talk – It’s a proven fact that the person you are connecting with will find you absolutely fascinating if you are an excellent listener. A good rule of thumb is to listen for 80% of the conversation and talk no more than 20%. Listen attentively, be fully present and make eye contact.

When You Do Talk, Ask Open-Ended, Empowering Questions – “Who do you know here tonight?”, “What other events have you attended recently?”, “Tell me a little more about your work.” All of these get the other person talking and open the door to a deeper, more meaningful conversation. You will also be helping the other person to feel more comfortable.

Be A Resource – If people know they can rely on you for great tips and recommendations, not only is it more likely they will remember you; they will probably come back for more. Be a good source of general knowledge and trends – the latest relevant books, movies, restaurants, art openings and websites are a good place to start.

Be A Matchmaker – Be willing to share who you know. Introduce people to others who they might find interesting or who might be able to help them in some way. Be generous with your connections and it will come back to you a hundred-fold.

Smile – This is probably the most important tip of all. It’s also a beauty tip. I read somewhere that people who are smiling are 100% more attractive to others. Think about it. Would you rather engage with someone with attitude and a sourpuss expression, or the smiling, upbeat individual who genuinely seems open and interested? Let’s face it, the haughty, disinterested attitude just isn’t going to cut it in the 21st Century global marketplace nor is it going to win many fans. Smile and the world will smile back at you.

Follow-up – Make sure you spend a few minutes after an event jotting down a few notes on the back of the business cards you received while you were there. Did someone ask you for specific information? Did you promise another person the name and number of a new restaurant or your great massage therapist? Email your new contacts within 24 hours and let them know how great it was to meet them. Follow-up with any information you promised. Suggest lunch or a coffee to anyone that warranted more discussion and further connection. Continue to stay in touch – you could add them to a birthday list or send a book you think they might enjoy.

As Harvey Mackay so wisely wrote, “Dig A Well Before You’re Thirsty”. If you are constantly coming up with new ways to help others and be of service, you will never find yourself stranded in the desert.

©Liz Dennery Sanders 2009

Liz Dennery Sanders wants you to build your buzz and be successful beyond your wildest dreams. As the CEO of Dennery Marks Inc., a brand development and celebrity outreach firm, she founded SheBrand, to help female entrepreneurs, executives and small business owners build powerful personal brands with style, attract more clients and position themselves as experts in their industries. You can reach her directly at info@shebrand.com or https://www.shebrand.com.

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