What if I told you that networking could be a whole lot more fun and a lot easier if you learn to be natural and authentic and show the world just three qualities we are all looking for:  warmth, genuineness and empathy.  Don’t let anyone tell you that you have to work hard at being clever and witty – the simple truth is that positive energy and a friendly approach take away the fear and discomfort you may feel in networking.   Let’s talk about a few tips that will enhance even the lowest level of connecting…

Show Your Enthusiasm

When the first words out of your mouth are either a simple declaration of what you do, or a question about what your new networker does – you are not really inviting someone to make a meaningful connection.  Try to express what you do by showing your passion and purpose in what you do – get them excited with you just by the tone of your voice or the body language you use and make sure to include information about the fun things your day to day activities bring to your life!  Sharing your interests, as well as your career choice, inspires balance in the conversation and in your life and helps you connect with people on a broader level.

Think about it… if you spoke with one dentist and all you got from him was the name of his practice and the school he attended, and then spoke with another one who shared more about the boating he does on the weekends with his family – and you love boating!  Which do you think will have made a more enhanced connection with you.   Which do you think you will more naturally remember – whether he is the better dentist is no longer the issue… it is the natural connection you will have made.

Allow Others Their Moment in the Sun

It is not necessary that you have the floor at all times.  Sometimes you can connect at a much deeper level when you allow others to be all they can be at a networking event.  Sometimes those people give unsolicited advice that you weren’t prepared to receive, but if you do nothing more than make them feel helpful by being appreciative and diplomatic, you will have left a positive impression on what was previously a perfect stranger.  Rather than noting to an excited graphics artist that you already have all your branding under control, and shutting them down, try offering a different type of response, “Thanks for your interesting ideas.  I’ll have to give them some thought.”

There is NO Need to Compete!

You do not attend networking events to be the “best of show!”  Leave that to those who feel compelled to brag – while you engage in the more serious activity of building relationships.  Even if you run into someone who feels inclined to brag – have mercy on them.  Understand that people are there to promote themselves, and if they start bragging – it is a better course of action to understand their need to feel successful and warmly celebrate their success with them.  What an easy way to expand a connection when your response to some bragging is, “That’s has to be exciting for you.  I am impressed.”

Never Feed Into Gossip

The larger the group of people, the more likely you will experience those people who gossip to feel important.  Gossip creates mistrust and you don’t want to spend energy or resources trying to build relationships, only to have them dashed to the ground because someone wonders if you may sometime speak ill of them!  It is easy enough to change the direction of a conversation – and those who see you taking a stand for making that change, will see you as a role model of kindness and integrity; a person with whom they will now trust to connect with.

Dealing With Criticism

Ok, the more you network and the more you connect with people, the more you will be exposed to criticism.  The people who are negative tend to be labeled by others; that is not what you want in your life!  All you have to do to keep this a win/win situation is to share quiet empathy – and in turn allow others to step into a new place… one of being receptive and supportive.  Once again, you get to be the role model – helping those who criticize feel understood and more capable of being empathetic with others.  Those who have watched the interchange will trust you at a deeper level – sensing that if the occasion should ever arise – you would have their back as well.

And,  the most important…

Find some way to remember people’s names!  I have taken a few workshops on this topic – and realize how important it is that you connect the face and the business – only as secondary to the name. There are almost as many “tricks” as there are names to remember so my only suggestion is to find what works for you.  My own is to repeat their names several times during the conversation and when leaving the group, closing my eyes for a second to capture the vision of their face, as I use their name one last time to say my goodbyes.  I have a friend who uses the Cardscan program and frequently will go online and view the photos of a few people he wants to connect with at an upcoming event… just a quick little refresher that does wonders for his ultimate “connecting power.”

I trust these ideas are beneficial to you.  Each little shift we make in our thinking and the way we conduct our networking efforts makes a big shift in the quality of the connections we make at networking events.   Keep in mind… it is all about relationships – go build them!

Jan Vitale… building my business one great connection at a time.

Vital Enterprises, LLC – – where you can always find great tips, tools and resources about nutrition, vital document storage, disaster preparedness, identity theft, network marketing, networking, and travel…

NOTE:  I mentioned CardScan above – it you haven’t tapped into the power of this amazing product in managing your data and keeping your contact information up to date – I want to give you the opportunity to at least make yourself knowledgeable about its benefits.

CardScan Executive Contact Management System

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