Networking & The Art of Connecting
Networking for many people means asking, “What can you do for me?” This attitude, process and language often pushes people away instead of connecting them to you.
I would like to introduce you to a networking process I call Triage. In this process you look for an area of pain or discomfort in the person’s life that you can help with. There are 3 steps in the Triage Process.
The first step is what I call Scratching the Record which is getting people people’s attention. When I’m at a networking event and a person starts a conversation with me, they normally ask me about my business. The reality is that they are being polite, but may not really listen to what I would have to say at this point. So, I make a very short statement that stimulates a question from them like “I make money sticky.” Their normal response is something like “How do you do that?” or “What is it?” When someone asks a question like this, now you have their attention. You will be tempted to tell them more, but don’t.
The second step of the Triage process is Actively Listening. When the person has asked you a question you can say “I would love to, but first tell me a little about your business.” The key here is to listen intently to what the person is telling you so that you can identify if they have any needs. This is key information so that you will know whether you or someone in your network has a solution for this person. This is also the step that will tell you what part of you to share with them.
The third step of the Triage process is Asking Permission to Connect. This is not just asking for their business card. Depending on what you uncovered in the second step, you may ask for an appointment, either on the phone or in person, to talk about their needs and possible solutions. You may have also identified that someone in your network could benefit this person. Get permission to give their information to your contact. The most important thing to remember in this step is to follow through to continue your conversation, connect them to others, or thank them and let them know it was great meeting them.
If you will follow these three simple steps, you will break through the surface generalities of small talk and form meaningful connections that will last a lifetime.
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