When you go to professional networking events like receptions, mixers, conferences, fairs and seminars, it is “etiquette” to talk about the professional parts of our lives first.
However people make better, more interesting and more lasting connections when they talk about more personal topics like hobbies, interests, family, schools (of themselves and of their children). When we have found this mutual interest, interesting things happen: the atmosphere changes, we feel more relaxed and many times we become more ourselves. (Note: I see so many people acting like someone they are not at networking events; it is pity because they get frustrated with that and it doesn’t bring any results either: people feel it on a subconscious level and push them (mentally) away instead of getting more interested in them)
The question now is: how do I go from professional and business to personal in a conversation?
What Jan De Boeck, one of the trainers at Networking Coach, has found is that the magical words are: “Where is your company situated?” or “Where do you come from?”
When people answer this question, it is easy to tie in some more personal questions and comments like “I have a cousin who plays tennis there” (of course only when this is true), “Have you been living there for a long time?”, “Is there anything interesting to see or visit there?”, “Are there any good restaurants over there?” and many others.
So after listening to each other’s Sticky Stories so you will be remembered professionally, switch to the personal side and make sure you will be remembered as a whole person to make life lasting connections!
Have a great networking week !
Jan Vermeiren is the author of the networking book “Let’s Connect!” and the audio CD “Let’s Connect at an event” (or in Dutch: “Let’s Connect op een evenement“) which contains 30 tips to listen to in your car when going to or coming back from a network event so you will not only feel comfortable, but also get results!