How to build a power network part 2

Building your network starts with building rapport. Here are some tips for starting to establish trust and respect with individuals you've just met.

1. Research people before you meet them. Let them know you did! It’s flattering and then you’ll be able to ask lots of questions around their life and work without it being awkward. This will give you lots of fodder for conversation and they will be appreciative that you took time to understand them and their world.

2. If you meet someone at an event, take a moment to find them to say goodbye. That extra touch will show that you truly valued the conversation and they will be honored by that. It also gives you a second interaction with that person so they’ll more likely remember you.

3. Be completely engaged and invested in the conversation you chose to be in. Use your eyes and body language to say you are present to the conversation. If you started it, see it through and finish it well. Lean in, repeat what they said for clarity to make sure you understood what they said.

4. In conversation, be careful on the affirming. “uh huh, yeah, that’s awesome” this makes you appear eager to jump in with your own thing to say, even if you don't have anything to contribute and can start making the other person feel rushed. Give people space for their thoughts and keep your affirming to a minimum.

5. Practice your handshake. Bad handshakes leave an unfavorable impression.

6. Talk with passion! If you’re going to share about yourself, share what you are passionate about. People connect and are energized by passion. So share your interests with others. Chances are, they would rather talk about your scuba diving (even if they don’t like the ocean) to hear your excited about it then falling asleep as you tell them where you're from and what you do in a monotone voice.

7. At a networking event, it’s much easier to strike up a conversation with an individual and not a group. Try to catch people as they’ve broken away from a group (to get coffee etc) or those who have yet to enter a group conversation. It’s difficult to build rapport in a group because you have to stick to general topics that everyone can appreciate and it’s too many people to try and connect deeply with. 

That's all for now. Keep building!

Good Questions

Questions are important to stimulate conversation and to encourage others to open up. A good question can reveal an answer within the question. It can bring about breakthroughs for people, it can create connection, and it can show your interest in the other person. Some questions to use:

  • What do you love most about what you do?
  • What does a typical day look like for you?
  • What’s your biggest frustration in your job?
  • What are areas you feel you excel in?
  • What do you do on your commute?

Other good phrases to use

  • How does that look?
  • How does that make you feel?
  • Tell me more about that

What are some questions you have learned to ask?

Got Any Ideas?

Ideas come to those who are looking for them. You wonder why there are certain people who always have exciting ideas or a fresh perspective? They have trained their brain to see and analyze situations differently than most. They are constantly searching for new thoughts or breakthroughs. Each conversation, each person is an opportunity to learn or discover something new. You don't have to be a creative personality to think outside the box.

You can uncover valuable gems of wisdom and ideas by approaching life with a slightly different perspective. Ideas are everywhere, they just require a little effort to discover.

What Cars and Shoes Have in Common

So although I am not an expert on men by any means, I am attempting to provide an “enlightened” woman’s perspective on a man’s world. The subject is cars. Men understand all the different models, makes, gadgets and features of cars, and they love to talk about them. I’ve been in many conversations where I’m bewildered by the jargon thrown around. I’m completely unable to decipher the conversation, and sit there hoping not to embarrass myself. When I find myself in situations like that, I have a new appreciation for how guy’s must feel as women chatter on and on about wrap dresses, stilettos and sequins. Although I’m easily confused, I make an attempt to understand and learn when I’m in a conversation about cars. There is something fascinating about all the details and it’s a bit more complicated than skinny jeans and lace I must say! An interesting tidbit I discovered, is that guys feel about their cars, the way women feel about their shoes. If I have a particularly smashing pair of shoes, it’s exciting when others notice, and that’s exactly the same feeling guy’s get when they’re complimented on the horsepower of their particular ride. Cars are their way to enjoy good quality, decoration, and nice things.We have our bangles and baubles and guys have their Mustangs and Mercedes-Benz. Appreciate that those are so vastly different, and yet still similar!

How to be a good listener in 6 (not so simple) steps

Connected and engaged listening is an incredible skill. Good listening can be awfully difficult, but as it’s practiced, it will  become a habit. It’s beneficial to every relationship because people need to feel they are being heard and understood. If you can do this consistently and well, you will have learned a great way to show love. To listen well, you must first want to listen. Force yourself to be engaged in the conversation whether you’re interested or not. If you're going to undertake a conversation, don’t do it half heartedly. It’s disrespectful and deceitful to have your mind occupied elsewhere as you pretend to be listening. Whatever method you take for capturing your thoughts and creating the desire to be engaged, do it!

Now that you've cultivated the desire to hear what the other person has to say, it's only reasonable that you Do NOT engage in other activities while you are listening. It makes the other feel uncomfortable and unimportant. Multi tasking is indeed a skill, but there are certain times that full and complete attention to one thing is worth the effort. This is one of those areas. Regardless of whether you did hear them amidst your project, the speaker feels as though you didn’t.

It's uncomfortable at first, but it speaks volumes if you maintain eye contact. We have all experienced telling a story, where we get distracted because we wonder what on earth is behind us, to our right, left and above us. Flies? Bubbles? Angels? People’s eyes dart all over the place, and we rush to finish the story as soon as possible. Their lack of eye control makes us assume they're looking for the nearest exit. It takes self control to maintain eye contact, but it's worth developing.

Okay so this one requires some serious self control. Hold your tongue until there's a good pause to insert your comments. Don’t interrupt! People need to feel they have been heard. When you don’t allow them to finish their sentence, you are telling them, you don't care what they have to say.

When you do interject with your own thoughts, first off, acknowledge what was said, and then talk in the same streams of thought. Don’t completely change the subject, until you have given it a little attention, to show you were indeed interested. You can do this, by sharing a similar experience, or by asking good questions. Another facet of this is to mimic their feelings and body language in your own facial expressions and gestures, while they're talking. It shows your engaged, and empathetic.

That's a significant amount to think about as someone is telling you about their trip to the mall, or recent family reunion but the return on investment is huge. That person will walk away feeling loved, important, and special. So to recap......

To Listen Well:

1. create the desire to listen

2. don’t engage in other activities

3. maintain eye contact

4. don’t interrupt

5. acknowledge what they said

6. mimic body language

“People won't remember what you did or said, but they will remember how you made them feel" unknown author