Networking is one of the most powerful tools a business owner possesses. As cliché as it sounds, many times the determining factor to success isn’t what you know, but who you know. Whether it is a new job opportunity, a recruit for business or finding investors who will support your ideas, having connections really opens up doors for future business opportunities.
Showing genuine curiosity in others is the first step to becoming a networking master. Relating and connecting with individuals is a skill that is acquired over time. If the thought of conversing with a complete stranger frightens you, start small by talking with family and friends. As you become more comfortable with yourself and other individuals, conversation will flow more freely. In due time, striking up and engaging in conversation with complete strangers will be as routine as brushing your teeth.
People like a good listener. Listening is an integral part of the communication process. Many people spend time polishing their speaking skills, but put little to no effort in becoming a good listener. Give the person you are talking to your full attention. Don’t do any activity that will make it difficult to understand the other person’s point of view. While listening skills aren’t as widely publicized as speaking skills, they are just as important in conversation.
Everybody likes someone who makes them feel important. I recently contacted my attorney for legal assistance in dealing with a rude and unresponsive Ebay seller. The man showed genuine curiosity in my case, and did not interrupt a single word I said. We carried on a somewhat lengthy conversation, and at the end of it he pronounced my name incorrectly! Before I even had time to dismiss the thought, the phone rang. It was the attorney, and he was apologizing profusely for saying my name incorrectly. “Man…no wonder this Attorney is rated #1 in the all of the western United States” I thought to myself while flashing a big toothy grin.