Be A Committed Conversationalist
An important characteristic that all networking pros do is encourage the other person to talk and then keep them talking. The pro is out to quickly learn as much as s/he can about the other person. You see networking pros want to maximize their networking time and make as many valuable business connections as possible.
The only way to do that is to learn enough about the folks they meet to determine if setting up a dedicated meeting would be beneficial to each of them. [In a future post we’ll explore more about what should happen at that future meeting.]
The pro networker strives to be seen by others as a great conversationalist. Networking pros say things like “tell me about what you do”, “tell me more about your business”, and “what is it about your work that gets you excited to get up and go to work every day?”
If you ever have a conversation with a great networker who uses this tool you’ll walk away from the encounter saying to yourself “Wow! That person was a great conversationalist!” S/He will leave you feeling like you were the most important person in the room during that encounter.
The crazy thing is that you will probably know very little about the networking pro because s/he only got you to talk about yourself! The key to success here is that the pro networker doesn’t politely wait for you to finish what you’re saying so s/he can talk about him/herself. The pro is genuinely interested in hearing about your business, how long you’ve been in that field, what you love about your job, etc.
Why so many probing questions? Because the savvy networker is checking to see if you are a good match for him/her to refer you to someone else or to do business with him/herself. The only way to find out that information is to get you talking about you and your business.