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The Secret Ingredient You Need to Incorporate in Your Networking Strategy

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networking

Hearing the word “networking” brings up images of elevator speeches, stiff interactions, trying to look busy on your phone, and awkward silences. After the initial introductions and “what do you do’s” you’re often feeling panicked to come up with the next intelligent open-ended question in an attempt to keep the dialogue going.

With all the stress and discomfort that networking events bring, they’re still the best way to put yourself out there and meet like minded colleagues and leads to help you grow your business or land your next job.

The tactic often recommended is to ask questions to the person you’ve just met because we all know that people usually like to talk about themselves. This maneuver can sometimes backfire though because it can lead to either the awkward “I ask, you ask” ping-pong game or the one-way “I ask, you talk” situation.

“Networking is an essential part of building wealth.” –  Armstrong Williams

What if there was a recipe to a successful networking strategy where you’ll leave a great impression on the person you’re speaking to and once you learn it you will never again fear networking events? Well, there is.

We all love stories. From a very young age we have always loved hearing them – whether the stories came from our parents, books, movies, or now through podcasts and YouTube videos. We love telling them and hearing them and never seem to be able to get enough.

Sharing stories improves rapport, it creates ease and trust, and it opens room for more conversation.  They are so powerful that big corporations are focused on telling their stories to touch people’s emotions to persuade and influence them. Using the power of your experience and the stories you’ve lived, helps you connect, inspire, and influence.  

Here’s how I incorporated stories into networking events that helped me to build a six figure tutoring company in three years:
  1. I asked a few of my tutors to ask their students’ parents this simple question, “What do I do for you as a tutor?” to help get an understanding of what parents actually thought of us. This was an eye opening question because parents didn’t just stop at ‘you help my child with math’, they went way deeper giving personal stories about how their tutor had helped their child overcome barriers they were facing in school and in their relationships. One of the tutors even said that it brought tears to her face listening to a parent’s answer.
  2. Then I incorporated these stories into the question I most get asked at networking events: ‘so what do you do?’
  3. Once you start with a story, you open up ways for the conversation to go deeper and become more meaningful. Many times the person you are speaking with will start telling you their own story and the conversation will roll from there.
  4. Usually by this time so much has been said that you no longer have to scramble for the next topic to talk or ask questions about. The conversation will flow naturally.

“We are, as a species, addicted to a story. Even when the body goes to sleep, the mind stays up all night, telling itself stories.” – John Gottschall

Even though this method of networking will only give you the opportunity to speak with a few people at an event, it has more value than collecting stacks of business cards that are essentially worthless.

I can’t count the number of times I’ve run into people who have opened with, “Oh, I remember you. You’re the homework coach who helps kids and takes stress away from their parents”.

The impact of taking the time to consider what stories others what to hear and what they want to learn from you is worth the time invested. It allows new people you meet to get to know who you are and what you value.

Try sharing your story. You will be remembered and better still, won’t have to dread networking events.

What are some tips you would give to help when networking with others? Leave your thoughts below!

Image courtesy of Twenty20.com

Mehrnaz Bassiri is the founder and director of MyGradeBooster Tutoring Services. In 2014 she was the recipient of the Youth Entrepreneur Award sponsored by Futurpreneur Canada. Mehrnaz graduated from the University of British Columbia with a Master of Science. She is passionate about education and its impact on our society.

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Success Advice

20 Ways You Can Become a Powerful Communicator

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Emile Steenveld Speaker and Coach

Some people seem to naturally know how to effectively communicate in a group setting. They can express themselves clearly and listen attentively without dominating the conversation.

Being a powerful communicator is important for several reasons, including building and maintaining relationships, achieving goals, resolving conflicts, improving productivity, leading and influencing others, advancing in your career, expressing yourself more confidently and authentically, and improving your mental and emotional well-being. Effective communication is an essential life skill that can benefit you in all aspects of your life.

But, don’t worry if you don’t naturally possess this skill, as effective communication is something that can be developed with practice, planning and preparation.
 

1.  Listen actively: Practice active listening by giving your full attention to the speaker and responding to what they are saying.

 

2. Use “I” statements: Speak from your own perspective and avoid placing blame or making accusations.

 

3. Avoid assumptions: Don’t make assumptions about what the other person is thinking or feeling.

 

4. Be clear: Express your thoughts and feelings clearly and concisely by getting to the point and avoid using jargon or overly complex language.

 

5. Show empathy: Show that you understand and care about the other person’s feelings.

 

6. Offer valuable insights: When speaking in a group, provide a valuable takeaway or actionable item that people can walk away with.

 

7. Be an active listener: Listen attentively and respond accordingly, incorporating your points into the conversation.

 

8. Choose the right time: Pick the most opportune time to speak to ensure that you have the group’s attention and can deliver your message without interruption.

 

9. Be the unifying voice: Step in and unify the group’s thoughts to calm down the discussion and insert your point effectively.

 

10. Keep responses concise: Keep responses short and to the point to show respect for others’ time.

 

11. Avoid unnecessary comments: Avoid commenting on everything and only speak when you have something important to say.

 

12. Cut the fluff: Avoid being long-winded and get straight to the point.

 

13. Prepare ahead of time: Sort out your points and practice them before speaking in a group.

 

14. Smile and be positive: Smile and nod along as others speak, to build a positive relationship and be respected when it’s your turn to speak.

 

15. Take responsibility: Take responsibility for your own actions and feelings.

 

16. Ask questions: Ask questions to clarify any confusion or misunderstandings.

 

17. Avoid interrupting: Allow the other person to finish speaking without interruption.

 

18. Practice active listening: Repeat what the other person said to ensure you have understood correctly.

 

19. Use your body language too: Use nonverbal cues such as eye contact, facial expressions, and body language to convey your message and build rapport.

 

20. Be aware of the tone of your voice: it should be calm and assertive, not aggressive or passive.

 

By keeping these tips in mind, you can improve your communication skills and become a more powerful communicator, which can help you build better relationships, achieve your goals, and lead a more fulfilling life.

I you want to learn how to become more confident in life then you can join my weekly mentorship calls and 40+ online workshops at AweBliss.com so you can master your life with more success.

 
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You’re the manager. You’re the supervisor. You’re the leader. But maybe your people don’t see it that way

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You’re the manager. You’re the supervisor. You’re the leader. But maybe your people don’t see it that way and perhaps that has created a divisive and adversarial working environment that makes it difficult for you to influence and inspire your team in a way that meets your vision. (more…)

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How to Think Like a CEO for Your Future Success

A blueprint for CEOs to draw a disciplined strategy

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Strategic thinking helps CEOs build successful businesses. It helps them establish everlasting enterprises. It is one of the key elements of decision-making. It is different from strategic leadership. It differentiates between leaders from managers.  (more…)

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How to Focus Your Mind on Your Goals in 2023 Constructively

In this world of distractions due to information overload, it has become a big challenge to focus our minds

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In this world of distractions due to information overload, it has become a big challenge to focus our minds on positive aspects and constructive activities. Sometimes we waste our precious time mentally and physically due to distractions arising out of technology. We must understand our priorities and learn how to focus on them religiously. (more…)

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