Stop Networking? Social Cues to Guide You

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Networking isn’t about forcing yourself on another person. It’s about making a genuine connection and acknowledging the business benefit Imageof knowing one another. It’s important to have an actual conversation with a potential professional contact to make it clear you aren’t just using him or her, find out what you have in common, and shoot for a symbiotic relationship, not a parasitic one. Sometimes we are so intent on selling our professional selves that we miss the social cues to back off and give someone their space.

Here are five tips that will keep you on your networking toes:

1. Short answers? You should gently end the conversation. If the person you’re speaking with isn’t pitching in much, even when you try to find out more about them, then they probably don’t want to share as much information as you think they should. Try discussing a more general subject to get them to open up. But if  ”Yes” or “No” or “Sure” or “Uhuh” are all you’re getting from them, it’s probably time to seek out a new conversation comrade.

2. Long answers? You should be long gone. On the other hand, if you’re speaking with someone who doesn’t even take a breath between their own self-sales pitch, then they aren’t playing by the networking rules. Exchanging information about your professional lives is great, but a one-sided conversation is not. If he or she isn’t asking you about what you do or what you could offer to a professional partner, then it’s time to move along to a more balanced chat.

3. Changed subject? Time for a conversation change.  If the person you’re talking to continuously changes the subject from work to play or anything else, you’re wasting your time. Although it’s tempting to stick around if your conversation counterpart begins to flirt or ask about plans after this networking event, it’s not professional to stay put and a better business decision to spend your time appropriately with another contact.

4. Alcohol’s involved? You probably shouldn’t be. It’s common to drink and socialize, even in the business world. But when too much alcohol is involved, networking effectively is all the more difficult. If you notice your professional pal becomes less and less coherent, it’s probably a good idea to not waste time mingling with the wasted. They’re less likely to remember what you bring to the table, much less be able to convey what their connection could do. Conversely, if you’re more than a little buzzed, you probably shouldn’t represent your business right then.

5. No eye contact? Set your sights somewhere else. We know intuitively that when we’re getting eye contact, we’re getting attention. If someone you’re speaking with has a wandering gaze, perhaps to others in the room, to their cell phones, or to anywhere but your face, chances are you don’t have their attention. It’s time to move on.

When you see yourself in any of above scenarios, remember to keep your cool and your good business manners. The next networking event may be more rewarding!

If your company would like to schedule a workshop to learn more about Business Etiquette, please contact me!

Elena@etiquettecentre.com

954-921-0565 / 305-332-4527

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