Posts tagged: Building Networks

Networking Nausea – 5 common Networking Mistakes…

By , November 28, 2012 6:29 pm

“The richest people in the world look for and build networks, everyone else looks for work.”

~ Robert Kiyosaki

I’ve attended a few networking events recently and had the opportunity to observe how business people share information about themselves with each other.

Learning how to speak about what you do with clarity and confidence is an important skill for any leader.

I’m sure you’ve heard the saying: “You only get one chance to make a first impression!”

You can infect or affect your audience with your energy and enthusiasm. The challenge is not to over-play your strengths.

Learning to network can feel uncomfortable to begin with. You feel like you’re in the spotlight as you’re trying to make a good impression, increase your visibility, build connections or introduce yourself to potential new clients.

Anxiety and discomfort creates nervous energy. If you allow this take over you push people away rather than engage them in a conversation.

Here are some of the common mistakes that new networkers make:

1. Over-Playing Your Strengths – Sometimes we are so passionate about our subject that we ‘overplay’ this strength. Especially if the other person seems slightly interested. Your enthusiasm becomes a turn off for the other person. Your passion is strength, but if it’s over-played you may come over as arrogant, evangelical or pushy and our Ego can take over to run the show

2. Fire Hosing the Other Person This is where you fire hose them with too much information about what you do or why you are good. You try and explain EVERYTHING about yourself (Usually at 900 mph!). The conversation becomes very one-sided because it’s ALL about YOU… Remember that a CONVERSATION involves TWO or more people! So be curious, give the other person some airtime. Be genuinely interested and bring them into the conversation

3. Giving Out Rather than Getting Through – You might have a great elevator pitch that you can reel off with precision.  Unfortunately everyone can feel the relief when you get to the end of the paragraph and you’ve remembered all your key words! You deliver this message in a way that just gives out information, rather than using the power of your voice to make it interesting and engaging. Slow down, use intention and energy in your voice rather than just reeling off the rehearsed paragraph – This makes the other person curious about what you do.

4. Looking for the Next Person to Talk To – Instead of being fully present for the person you are talking to, you’re looking over their shoulder to see whom you could talk to next.  One of the greatest gifts you can give someone is to listen to him or her fully. Make that person feel like they are the most important person in the room. Give them eye contact and your full attention. People feed off each other’s energy: If you feed me indifference, then I will mirror this back to you.

5. “I’ve Written a Book, Do You Want to Buy It?” This was an opening statement by a woman who I’d never met before. I had no idea what her book was about. We sometimes feel compelled that we have to ‘sell’ something to be successful in a networking conversation. This person feels pushy or grabby! Networking is about CONNECTING that’s all. It’s the art of conversation. You get a feel for each other, a bit like being on a first date. (You wouldn’t plan your wedding or how many kids you’re going to have on a first date right?!).

We judge other people by their actions, we judge ourselves by our intentions. Make sure you actions match your intentions and bring the other person into the conversation.

Here are a few tips:

Slow down, breathe and watch your brevity. Have an engaging conversation. How can you best serve the other person?

Control the conversation and involve the other person as an equal partner in the discussion. You both have equal value and gifts to share. It’s a combination of listening, giving and asking for information.

Empathy is so important if you want to connect and influence other people. If I perceive that you are interested and understand me, I’m more likely to relax, open up and share my thoughts with you. I might even ask you for your contact details so we can stay in touch.

Being aware of these mistakes can help you to avoid them in the future!

Happy networking!



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