Improving Your Networking Skills And Pitch – Dynamic Communication – When we consider how to surround ourselves with the right people, we frequently consider what they can do for us. “What value can I bring to people?” is the real question you should be asking. ”
People interact with one another, not businesses. The majority of people at events rush out, shake hands, inquire about the other person’s name and business, and hand over a business card. Does this ring a bell? If that’s the case, smack your wrist with your business-card-passing hand!
That, my friends, is not how friendships are formed. In your networking conversations, aim for the “second handshake.”
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Consider the following scenario: You walk into a networking event and, as is customary, people stare at you as if you’re their next meal. “Hi, my name is Brady, I’m the owner of Awesome Business, and I do X, Y, and Z,” someone says in one breath as they approach you and reach out to shake your hand. What’s your name and what do you do for a living? ” You spit out your scripted retort, trade cards, and walk away. There isn’t a connection, and there isn’t a second handshake.
Consider the following scenario: You walk into a networking event, approach someone who appears to be interesting, shake hands, and introduce yourself by name. “Phil, I’m curious — how did you get into what you do?” you ask. ” And then there’s a discussion. After about five minutes, you realize you’ve both quit your corporate jobs to strike out on your own. You have something in common with each other. A relationship’s foundation is laid. And you both seemed to enjoy the conversation to the point where he extends his hand and gives you a second handshake as you begin to walk away.
You’ll almost certainly get a second handshake if you approach networking and relationship building in this manner.
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The foundation of mutually beneficial relationships is these conversations — these second handshakes. The connections that allow you to associate with the right people. The connections that lead to a company’s success.
Start a conversation with these questions
Do you need some assistance starting that conversation? Here are some questions to ask that will most likely throw someone’s pre-scripted networking pitch off. You’re more likely to have a better conversation, make a connection, and get that second handshake if you do it this way.
Questions about business:
- How did you get your start in this field?
- What motivates you to do what you do?
- What do you do with your free time?
- Which type of client do you prefer to work with?
- What is your favorite type of problem to work on?
- When you sign a new contract, what do you do first?
- What’s your favorite way to congratulate yourself on a job well done?
- What has a client said to you that has made you truly happy?
Inquiring further and posing some unusual questions:
- What did you want to be when you grew up when you were a kid?
- As a kid, what was your favorite toy?
- (As a follow-up) Does it have any relevance to what you do now?
- What’s your favorite holiday tradition, whether it’s with friends, family, or coworkers?
- What are you most excited about doing with your company (or with your family) in the coming year?
- What, in your opinion, has been the key to your success?
Use these questions to start a conversation and see what kind of friendships you can form!