The term networking has increasingly been ingrained into the business culture and has grown into a necessary staple in order to succeed. However, when you peel back what the practice of networking actually is – it almost holds a negative connotation, because it essentially implies that you have an ulterior motive and eventually want something from them.
Instead of approaching networking from the “what can you do for me” mindset – look at it from these different perspectives, and watch how much easier it is to connect with people.
Start connecting with people
We’ve all been in those semi-uncomfortable scenarios where business professionals attend events with the hope of sourcing out new connections that they can leverage down the road. It doesn’t matter if you are at a conference, a networking event or the local coffee shop – connect with people by being genuinely interested in them.
Put yourself in to the journalistic mindset and take an exploratory approach. Ask about their day, what they do, do they enjoy what they do, what is it about their work that they love? Amazing connections begin to form when you step outside of the generic small talk people use to get through the awkwardness of talking to someone new. Look to trade information, opinions, how you two can relate to one another. There is an unbelievable sea of new knowledge and information out there that we have yet to tap into – everyday presents new opportunities to try this tactic and start authentically connecting with people.
“Research has found that with a serious topic or a good friend, we measure a conversation’s success by how enthralled we were by what the other person said.” – via Time Magazine.
The antiquated method of shaking hands, exchanging pleasantries and business cards in the hopes of drumming up new business is an old model. Instead of looking at people as a commodity that you can hopefully utilize in the future, approach it with the mentality of, “how can I help you?” Understand their business, what their world is like, their challenges, pain points and future projections. Look at it from the angle that you don’t want anything back in return from them.
Seek to meet new people with the drive that you genuinely want to help them. Put your own agenda aside and the business will come. Remember, great conversationalists listen more than they talk. They are excited about the idea of meeting someone new and learning all about their story.
Successful people always have a thirst for new knowledge –it’s likely part of what makes them successful in the first place. Here’s why they want to discover new and different things to feed their curiosity and zest for life.