Networking Skill: Listening – Actions Part 1

The last weeks I have been sharing tips about the most important skill in networking: listening (the importance of listening, intention part 1 and part 2 and body language) .

Since I have received many reactions I will share some more tips in the next couple of weeks.

One of the questions I got, was: “I understand that listening is important, but what can I exactly DO?”

I have a lot of tips about that. In order not to overwhelm you with them I have split them into two parts. Below you will find the first part. Next week I will post the second part.

Listening Actions:

  • Give your full attention to what is said. Don’t let your thoughts wander off and don’t try to think about what you are going to say next.
  • Encourage the other person to tell you his story. Feel free to say: “Go on!”
  • Don’t interrupt the other person.
  • Listen to what is NOT being said. Pay attention to the body language of the other person. Find out if there is a “hidden question” in a story. A question that you can give an answer to.
  • React considerately and consciously instead of impulsively.
  • Have the other person talk more than you do yourself! Research has revealed that when we feel really good about a conversation we just had, we were talking 80% of the time or more. So if you want to be perceived as someone who is pleasant company, you don’t have to tell stories and jokes all the time. Just listen and let the other person talk most of the time!
  • Ask open questions: these are questions that begin with words like what, how, when, where,… Avoid closed questions that can be answered with yes or no. Asking open questions is the way to avoid this kind of conversation: “Hello, nice to meet you. Is this the first time you’re here?” “Yes” “Do you like it here?” “Yes” “Did you have troubles with traffic?” “No” and you can go on without making progress. Instead you could have asked: “Hello, nice to meet you. How many times have you already attended this event?” “This is the first time.” “What do you think thus far?” “The people are really nice and the speaker seems to be interesting.” And now you have two ways to go on: “Apparently you already met some people. Who did you meet?” or “What about the topic of the speaker appeals the most to you?” And then chances are that you have a very pleasant conversation.

Next week: more listening actions.

To your success !

Jan

PS: this is an excerpt from my book “Let’s Connect!”. You can download a free light version of the networking book Let’s Connect in English (or het netwerk boek Let’s Connect in Dutch)

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