Articles Tagged ‘Networking advice’

Successful Networkers Ask More Questions

Thursday, October 13th, 2011

Rather than making assumptions, ask more questions. This was a piece of sage advice that has been given to me both by my spiritual mentor, and my sales coach! No, they are not one in the same, but both have expressed the importance of asking more questions, as well as asking better questions. Over the years as I have developed my networking skills I have come to learn the importance of not only asking questions but ask good questions.

I often teach people how to network effectively, to get beyond face to face cold calling, to do quality networking that allows you to build relationships with people whom you want to refer business to and who may want to refer business to you. One of the most popular questions I get from my students is; “How do you start a good conversation with someone I meet at a networking event?” My response is always the same, “Ask Questions.”

People love to talk about themselves, their businesses, what they are doing that is important to them, and what is going on in their world. If you are shy, or timid, asking questions will allow you to interact and find common ground with people. It will take you out of your shell by allowing you to focus on something other than your own fear.

Here are a few tips for asking questions:

Never ask yes or no questions, otherwise you just get yes and no answers and there is no conversation started. Make sure your questions are open ended.

Ask thoughtful questions that you would really like to know the answer to. People respond better when they know you are genuinely interested. We are accustomed to hearing questions like, “How are you?” “How’s business?” “What brought you here?” “What do you do?” The truth of those questions is that no one really wants to know the answer, they are just being polite.

After you ask a question, listen to the answer. It may lead you down the path of the next question or you may learn that the person you are speaking to would be a great connection for someone else you know if the room.

Don’t be a Drill Sargent and pummel the person with questions, it is far better to have 2-3 well thought out questions that draw the person into conversation with you, than it is to have a barrage of pointless questions.
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Three Things that Women Do Better Than Men – When Networking

Tuesday, August 16th, 2011

Business networking is about building relationships and who is better at building relationships than women. When it comes to networking there are a few things that women are just naturally better at then the men. There are things they can learn from us, just as there are things we can learn from them. In this blog, I am listing the 3 things that women do better than the men. The following blog will list the 3 things that men do better than women and the third in the series will discuss how we can learn from each other. So, before you men get all upset, be patient, you time to shine will be next, ladies first!

1. Women build deeper relationships with the people they meet than men do. That is not to say that men do not build relationships, they do, but they do it differently and they define it differently. This really plays out when men retire; once they are no longer working they have few close friends to do things with. Good networking is about building good relationships.

2. Women are excellent carriers of word-of-mouth. Women will sing your praises when you do a good job for them, and typically they are less likely to refer someone if they have not used or seen the quality of your work or product. When they do, no one will pass on the information better than a female.

3. Women by nature are collaborators, they build community. They will rally a group together to accomplish a goal or task. Where men are often lone wolves, women like to do things in groups. This plays very well in the business networking arena; it allows more people to win, when they are all working together.

All of these are good traits, and each of them have a downfall. While it is important to build relationships, women often forget that they are building business relationships. Relationships that are meant to help, to be leveraged for business on both sides. We spend a lot of time building the relationships in the hope that they will do business with us, but we think that just because someone knows what we do, they will choose to use us when the need arises. That is a belief that often holds us back from creating the success in our business networking that we are looking for.

Hazel Walker
Referral Institute, llc
BNI
hazel@bni.com

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