Networking is about building relationships and one of the main ways to build relationships with people is to have effective, productive conversations. However, that can seem like a daunting task for some people who are at a total loss when it comes to the art of conversing.
If you shy away from going to networking events because you’re consumed by the fear of not knowing what to say, pay attention to these four conversation tips from my good friend Susan RoAne (a.k.a.: The Mingling Maven®):
- Always keep in mind that a conversation should be balanced dialogue. It’s good to ask questions that get people to talk about themselves, but remember: people who ask too many questions are sometimes perceived as prying probing busybodies.
- If you haven’t brought something to the banquet of conversation, make an “ask” of yourself. Though most people don’t mind a question, even two or three, if you are asking all the questions, there is no exchange, no real conversation, just an interrogation or Q&A.
- Try reading local and national newspapers and a pop-culture blog or a popular magazine. Pick three to five items to use as emergency restarters in case there’s a lull in conversation–national news, local topics, sports, fitness, movies, books, hobbies. And food–everybody likes to talk about food.
- Tell stories about things that have happened to you or others. People connect with stories, not the factoids and figures of life.
If you liked these tips, you can find more of Susan’s networking advice and resources by visiting www.SusanRoAne.com