The Conversation (Networking)

English: High Speed Business Networking Event ...
English: High Speed Business Networking Event by JCI Français : Événement de rencontres d’Affaires à très haute vitesse organisé par la JCI et l’association EGEE (Entente des Générations pour l’Emploi et l’Entreprise) en partenariat dans les locaux de France Télécom (Paris, Gare de Châtelet – Les Halles en 2006). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So what happens after the introduction?

If the introduction is followed by an exchange of business cards then almost certainly it is a waste of time. I find myself very reluctant to exchange cards and will avoid it if possible. After a few introductions like that I probably will leave. My parting thought would be that I should have left all my business cards at the door!

I’d rather have fun and treat networking like a dinner party.  Much more fun!

Start with an introduction and/or an open question. Some examples can be (and I don’t spend my time asking the same questions over and over again) What do you do? Or how do you know the party giver or birthday person? What brought you here? Anything non offensive will do!

Then I may move onto the specific open question. And then I listen. Just listen. And bite my tongue as I can be a serial interrupter!

Then I might share an experience I’ve had that might be relevant. Or mention a similar problem. Or ask for more information. Or, one the things I enjoy about networking suggest someone I know who solved that problem.

Then I might check whether my information was relevant. Does that work for you? I may use the closed question!

But the reason I now enjoy networking is best shown by this story.

I was introduced to a recent university graduate. I asked her what she wanted to do next. She said she was looking at all career options including those outside of her studies. I then asked her what she enjoyed about her studies. She said group work was fun! I came up with a few ideas. She said I didn’t think of that and I’ll look into it. And the conversation ended.

Hey I had fun and I helped someone. Let the rest take care of itself!

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