How to Improve Networking Skills


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fs10If you’re headed to a networking meeting, conference, or other event soon you’re smart to be thinking about improving your networking skills.  I want to address one of the areas that most people don’t think about very much, but should because it’s actually something that speaks volumes about you.

As a communication and speech coach, many of my clients ask me questions about how to better connect with people when they meet. As the author of Kill the Elevator Speech: Stop Selling Start connecting, I tell folks don’t worry at all about the elevator speech because people you meet will only remember 2-4 words you say anyway. So figure out those words and then think about what you’re NOT going to say.

fs6 One of the things most people don’t always consider is how they show up. What you wear, how you style your hair, and your accessories are common decisions but what about your business messages that make you look more credible?
fs8 During my credibility and cash flow speech, I tell audiences you want to make sure you have an entire professional image – down to your professionally printed business card that includes your email address that goes along with your business website – not AOL, Yahoo or even Gmail. It’s these unspoken messages that will leave more of an impression that anything that you say. It’s because people will most remember how they feel about you.

fs9Another way to get folks to have a good feeling about you is to ask them questions about themselves and allow them to open up and share their stories. Instead of asking what they do for a living, ask instead how they got started, what their favorite thing they do at work is, who their favorite type of client it is to work with or what they love most about their job. Suddenly you’re connecting on a different level and you’re going to leave behind a feeling that you’re someone who is interested in them and it’s a well-known communication principle that if you’re interested in them, you must like them and if you like them, they are in turn more attracted to you – and then there’s good feelings all around.

If you’re nervous about networking I actually have a way that you can go to a meeting and never have to introduce yourself again, yet everyone in the room will know you. Sound good? I thought so! It’s your Signature Speech, and it’s a marketing tool where you show up to an event and the meeting planner has already promoted you in advance. People know you’re coming and they know what you’ll be talking about. You get to be in front of everyone there and by then end of your 30-60 minute presentation they’ll be no question about what you do and people will come and introduce themselves to YOU. And some will even want to do business with you on the spot. Now that’s powerful.