Successful Networking Must be ReciprocalNever attend a social or business event with the idea that it is all about you; it is not. Networking is about relationship building not making sales pitches where you force others to listen to you droll on excitedly about yourself.
This is also true with social and professional networking through the Internet. When building networks you must give something back. And, to sustain good personal and business relationships both parties must benefit in some way.
The Two Most Important Networking Skills
The two most important networking skills you can develop are listening and asking questions. These two skills will impress your clients even more than your best business statistics.
Why? Because listening validates the value of others and shows respect. Talking too much is rude, dominating, and not reciprocal. Asking thoughtful questions shows sincerity and builds trust because it actively shows an interest in someone's opinions and thoughts.
How to Be a Good ListenerOne of the most unappreciated networking skills that you can easily master is the ability to listen. To get people excited about you and your business you need to do more listening and less talking.
Good listening is active not passive. To be a good listener:
- Maintain eye contact.
- Do not fidget, shift your body weight often, and never look at your watch! All these things send a message that you are bored, impatient, or not interested.
- Nod your head to show agreement but do not interrupt to make your own point or share your own personal experiences.
- Respond by repeating at least one key point the person you are talking with just made in the form of a question. For example, if Cindy Miller just told you how excited she is about a new product, ask her when it will be made available.
Good questions follow good listening and accomplish two very important things: it shows you are listening and interested enough to ask a question and it keeps to conversation going in the direction you choose.
Networking Listening Skills Tips: A good listener actively pays attention to the conversation and responds appropriately with questions.