Always Be Prepared

Scouts-USMC-16307-PUBLICDOMAINWell it’s a new year! Some of you may have some new resolutions to get excited about. Maybe you’re not a fan of resolutions because you’re tired of making them and breaking them. I’m in the later camp myself.

I gave up on resolutions a few years ago in favor of a more holistic approach to getting where I want to be in life and business. Instead of resolutions, per se, I find that working to integrate skills and behaviors into my regular routine and process is much more effective. If I do that then I’m much more likely to stick with it. Either way hopefully you have set some goals for yourself to work towards in the coming months.

This year I decided to spend some time looking at who I need to meet. I’m focusing on my networking. I don’t have any specific goals about the number of people I want to meet, but I do have some goals about who I want to meet. Not only specifically who, as in specific persons, but generally who I need to connect with. I work well with business owners of small and mid-sized companies. This year I want to meet more of them.

Giving some thought to what types of people you want to connect with can help you in several ways. Here are a few:

1. It helps you evaluate your existing networking activities.
2. It helps you plan your future networking activities.
3. It helps you be on the lookout for specific people you want to meet.
4. It helps you be aware of what ‘types’ of people you want to connect with.

Once you now who you want to meet you can focus on how to engage them when you do meet them. Once you know who to look for you still have to initiate a conversation. So that is a good second ‘goal’ for the new year… get prepared to network no matter where you are.

We all network. We do it everywhere, whether we realize it or not. When you are at the office, at jobs sites, at social events and at business events you will meet people. Your job is to interact with those people you come into contact with. That’s where connections come from… those conversations you have every day. Better conversations means better potential connections. You never know when you will have the opportunity to meet someone on your list. So working on being ready for those conversations improves your chances of a productive interaction when you do.

You never know when you’ll meet that specific person you want to get introduced to. Or, more likely, you may meet someone who works in a company or industry that might make a good customer… or referral partner. If you’re not ready to share your story in an effective, interesting way… anywhere… you may miss out on a golden opportunity.

In order to make sure you can take advantage of those opportunities you really need to prepare yourself to naturally and comfortably discuss your business or job. When you are prepared to simply talk with people you can weave information about your company into a conversation. At that point you’re essentially ready for anything. That helps guarantee your success, regardless of the situation you find yourself in… and regardless of who you find yourself talking to.

It’s a very simple idea. Unfortunately simple doesn’t always mean easy. Preparing yourself means a lot more than just having an elevator speech memorized. There are many situations where whipping out the elevator pitch would be bad form… or inappropriate. Preparing yourself to network goes deeper than that.

Understanding when to talk and when to listen is critical. Knowing how to explain your company without losing people in industry jargon or buzzwords is vital. Being able to tell anyone about you while making the conversation about them is a valuable skill. Having the ability to introduce yourself in many different ways, that are all interesting, can help immensely. You will also have times when you need to exit a conversation gracefully, for any number of reasons.

All of these skills can be learned and integrated naturally into your networking conversations. When you master these and integrate them so they are seemless, you are truly ready for any conversation. It is possible, though it takes some effort. Achieving this level of comfort and skill can take your networking to the next level. That is what empowers you to talk to anyone about what you do, anywhere. It is what enables you to make the connections that are so vital to your business in the 21st century.

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You can follow Eric @pitchforsuccess on Twitter or on Facebook at PitchforSuccess

To get information on sharing this article or having Eric speak to your group email questions@pitchforsuccess.com

Listen to What I’m Saying

Make active listening work for you… or else.

Got 30 seconds?

I’ll give you a tip to make your professional networking more productive.

 

 

Active listening is extremely important when you are networking. some people ask me “how is active listening different than just listening?” Too often listening is really just waiting for someone to finish what they are saying so you can say what you wanted to say, regardless of the conversation. I see this with people rushing to tell people about their business or products. Active listening, on the other hand, involves really paying attention to what the other person is saying. Then you can move a conversation forward, wherever it goes. The former is not a good way to have a genuine conversation, and can lead to people feeling you have an agenda. It puts people of to think you don’t care what they are saying. Active listening on the other hand lets the conversation unfold naturally, so you can learn more about the other person. That’s what gives you a real chance to find a connection. one you can explore in the NEXT conversation too.

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You can follow Eric @pitchforsuccess on Twitter or on Facebook at PitchforSuccess

To get information on sharing this article or having Eric speak to your group email questions@pitchforsuccess.com

Pitch for Success 30 Second Networking Tip #26

Did you hear a single thing I said?

Got 30 seconds?

I’ll give you a tip to make your professional networking more productive.

Being an active listener is a critical skill when you network. That means really listening to what the other person is saying and trying to understand. It’s important to give feedback when the other person it talking so he knows you’re listening. Make eye contact but don’t stare. Nod when you understand something. Your facial expression will give you away if you’re pretending anyway so you might as well genuinely listen. After all you’re there already and listening is what will uncover possible connections. And that can lead to a relationship that makes a difference for both you and him.

Like this weeks networking tip?

Sign up to receive notifications when new tips are released using the form on the side of this page.

____________________________________________________________________

You can follow Eric @pitchforsuccess on Twitter or on Facebook at PitchforSuccess

To get information on sharing this article or having Eric speak to your group email questions@pitchforsuccess.com