For those of you who want to look forward to better days, I would like to suggest that you examine your current networking activity.
You are doing something wrong if you look forward to networking with grim determination, feel frustrated after a networking session, and are not seeing people a second time.
Any of these are signs that you view networking as selling yourself or getting something from others. That is a total waste of those unique moments in time when you have the attention of someone else.
I realize that countless books have been written on how to win
friends and influence people using various canned scripts, but I humbly
suggest that those books are full of nonsense.
When you manage to meet someone and gain their attention for the
first time, you have an opportunity to leave a lasting impression on
them that they will carry away and will maintain for years.
Why must you insist on coming across as an annoyance or as a
distraction? Your golden opportunity is transformed into a blot on the
other person’s universe which he or she will handle by labelling you as
someone to avoid in the future.
If you don’t know the person who is now paying attention to you,
introduce yourself very briefly and immediately ask about them, what
brings them here, what they do for a living, it doesn’t matter what the
question is, but it must be based on your actual interest in them. If your interest is genuine and your manners are in, you can even ask questions that might seem overly personal if handled crudely.
People are willing to talk with someone who is interested in them
for the right reasons. If you are genuinely interested in someone, you
can ask them almost anything and you will get a response.
If you already know something about the person who is paying
attention to you, you can mention something favorable about them or
what they have done instead of asking them a question.
Once you have made your statement or asked your question, shut up
and let the other person talk. This will tell you whether to continue
the conversation or to thank them and walk away.
Maybe there is nothing more to say. Ending an initial contact
smoothly leaves the door open to a later meeting where you have more in
If you are genuinely interested in the other person, as in wanting
to help them out or make them feel more comfortable, they will pick
that up and remember you fondly and possibly with some affection. It
takes very little time to form a bond with someone if you are
interested in their welfare and making them feel comfortable.
If you force yourself to communicate with people you don’t like for
the purpose of networking, you have missed the whole point of this
activity. Networking is the process of extending your network of friends. It is not a matter of running around passing out business cards.
Have a good weekend!