By Matt Britt, Founder of Network Oxygen
I regularly attend networking and social events ranging from BNI and Chamber Of Commerce to seminars and trade shows, even the local fitness clubs have become networking havens these days. At all of these functions there are usually many people from all walks of life. Some are very successful, others not so much. You will find businessmen or business people (for the PC activists), doctors, lawyers, marketers and real estate agents and you will also have your carpenters, electricians, and contractors too as well as almost every other profession in between. Everyone at the functions networks and talks and maybe develops a new relationship or two but for the most part they are just there and they feel that is real networking at its best.
They are missing out on some of their best networking opportunities by making one large mistake. Something that I have learned at a real early age is that people are only interested in one thing: THEMSELVES. No one else truly matters to them, yet we consistently talk as if they do. What I mean is that no matter how many of these functions I attend, I always here the same sort of chatter going on between the networkers. I did this, I did that or I like this or that, I have been here or there, you know useless bits of information that really know one cares about but you. The word I is the most used word in the English language…no wonder, we are always talking about ourselves. The best way to bore someone who you are trying to build a new relationship with is to talk about yourself.
For a quick example of what I am trying to illustrate lets imagine we are at a networking event and you and I are talking. I ask you “What you do for a living?” You tell me “I am a real estate” I answer back “Wow, I have a cousin who is a real estate agent, she have been doing it for almost 15 years now and she makes lots of money” And you instantly turn and run for the door. See how fast I turned that conversation on to me? Think that was a wise move? NO absolutely the most awful thing that I could have done. You don’t care about me, and why would you? I am not you. Remember, we are only truly interested in ourselves. A better thing to have would have been to ask, “How long have you been a real estate agent? Or “do you like real estate?” Some sort of question to keep the conversation on the most important person in the world to you, you! That would keep you around and cause you to really like me because I am interested in the most important person in the world to you, you! We are always so busy trying to seem interesting to other people instead of trying to be interested in other people. Believe me when I say this, I can make far more people like, trust, and respect me by being interested in them then I ever could trying to be interesting to them. When talking with people try and be truly interested in them, ask them questions, get to know what they like and don’t like about their jobs, find out what sort of things they like to do in there spare time, really get to know them. I promise you will have so much more success with your networking efforts if you just concentrate your efforts on being interested in the other people in the room instead of trying to be interesting to all of the other people in the room.
Take these new skills out with you to your next event and set a goal to met one new person and take total interest in them, see what a difference it will make to the conversation, see how much you will learn about them it will amaze you. Watch their facial expression as you talk about them, they will just light up. Reminder, stop trying to be interesting and start becoming interested. Enjoy and happy networking.
Matt hopes to make $14,000 from writing this article. See How to Make $20 For Every Word You Write for more details.