Have we lost the ability to talk to one another? Has technologies convenience somehow created shallow conversations and the inability to relate to other human beings? In today's growing age of smartphones, tablets, it's crazy to think that only a few decades ago these items were a fantasy. No one expected us to evolve or advance this far this quickly.
Knowing this is key to improving how we communicate with one another. Even though many have become social introverts relegating themselves to hide behind computer screens and only engaging in crucial conversations through the comfort of their homes, few are still working hard to establish the ability to converse with one another.
Forbes posted an article entitled, Five Topics For Successful Business Conversations, and they have some solid ideas on how conversations in the business world do have some great guidelines, but also some best practices that may help you connect with others in your sphere of influence. Here is a simple list they examine within their article:
Shared passions and interests
Work (of course!)
The neighborhood hangout
A favorite team
These are remarkably genuine and pretty normal topics of conversation. In our daily conversations we see that these areas are what we connect with one another on in almost every situation. This list is not exhaustive in nature nor does it imply it must happen in this order. Either in business or casual conversation these are areas that we connect with others on almost every time.
Networking events are typically a foundationally event for Entrepreneurs to gather and to socialize. These events are put on to help others engage with one another from a shared desire to grow or better operate their businesses. Even though these events happen often there's a lot of anxiety surrounding them. Most who go have a hard time effectively networking and therefore have a hard time meeting others where they are at. Because we fear rejection, this venue can be very daunting to a beginner who may feel judged for starting out.
In Jacqueline Whitmore's article, How to Start a Conversation With Strangers at a Networking Event, She goes into detail about some of the hardships and strategies out there to help young Entrepreneurs engage with others at these events. Here is her list of points she makes mention in her article:
Hone your Public speaking skills:
It's important that you practice your presentation of yourself. The more you practice the better and more comfortable you will feel speaking in front of others.
Start with a handshake
No one likes a wimpy handshake and this first impression speaks volumes about your character, charisma, and ultimately your intentions. Starting off on the right note can not only boost the confidence in yourself, but in the presentation of yourself to a stranger.
Win the name game
It means a lot when you remember people's names. Do you best to write down names and at least 3 points about them or their business and when you return to an event follow up with them. Don't forget that personal touch of saying their name!
Most think these events are business card hand out sessions. Although this may be a great way to make a few strong connections this may not be the best venue for that. It's better to make stronger connections by being more interested in another person's business, hobbies, or activities. You can't grow your own business if you aren't chiefly concerned with others.
Ask a connector for help
Find someone who goes to these events have them introduce you. All great connections start first with a solid introduction. This creates a relational bond.
Give a sincere compliment
Everyone is pumped up when they receive a compliment. This is why you need to strive to listen and give a compliment for achievements and talents someone has. It's far better than just the standard, "Oh that's great" response we all give when we don't know how to give a compliment.
"Use networking events as a way to tithe your social and professional capital. Seek out entrepreneurs in different industries. When you start a conversation, ask industry-specific questions. Invite the person to share her opinion and then communicate your perspective. Always be on the lookout for potential partnerships and other business opportunities. Train your ears to hear problems so you can present solutions (Whitmore)."
Learn to tell a story
Learning to tell your journey is important not just for you, but so context can be born from your experience. Your story may also allow others to find shared meaning, or give you candid feedback on how to improve. Seeking this feedback is how true businesses grow and develop.
These points are given more explanation in her article that I have cited below. You can see how these skills can be useful as you mingle and as you connect with others daily, but it's important to understand we aren't looking for "lip service" we need to be on the lookout for feedback that will help us achieve our goals each day.
Below I have added a few more resources for you to go through. Conversations are a true way for us to learn, grow, develop, and to share meaning with one another. No matter how spread out social media and technology has made us, the great connector is being able to communicate effectively with one another. This art doesn't just have to flow from business transactions, rather it's how you communicate with others in every aspect of life. Be it talking to your boss, coworker, significant other, or a complete stranger. These attributes can improve your ability to connect with others on any level. The more you practice, the more confident you will become every day!