Your Network Window of Opportunity
The number one way to connect both inside and outside your company is by networking. Expanding your network is important for professional growth and development.
The key, of course, is establishing relationships in a wide variety of areas and industries.
In “How to Quick Start Networking Conversations”, by Ilise Benun, the author identifies behaviors that can lead to positive networking experiences.
- Seize the initial window of opportunity. If you don’t say something right away, it’s much more difficult to initiate conversation later on. As Benun describes it, “If you sit down in silence and miss that tiny window of opportunity, the whole thing seems to get 50 times harder because you have to break a pre-existing silence with an opening line.”
- Don’t use the excuse that you don’t know what to say. The truth is almost anything qualifies as an icebreaker. Simply say, “How are you today?” Comment on something you see. If they are reading a book, ask about it. The content of the opening line is irrelevant. It just says that you are available for conversation. If, however, you get a perfunctory response, don’t push.
- Be active. Networking means going to trade shows, conventions, training sessions, local business events, etc.
- Ask a question, then listen. The mark of a good conversationalist is getting others to talk.
- Have a broad base of knowledge. Read extensively, travel, expand your dining horizons, go beyond your comfort zone.
- Unveil your passions. Only talking about business is boring. Know your passions and be able to express things about them.
- Follow-up. Great networkers follow-up within 24 hours of receiving a business contact.
Resources: “Get in Good”, by Guy Kawaski and “How to Quick Start Conversations”, by Ilise Benun