As the featured speaker of the November general meeting, Kristy Rogers spoke on creating genuine connection and getting the most out of networking, followed by an interactive activity where the group was able to practice their new networking skills.
Below are the key points of her program along with some great tips to help you increase your networking success. As Kristy says: “The ability to produce results is all about connection.”
What is Connection?
It involves being liked, being preferred, sameness, and being included. Connection can be built through physical touch, tone of voice, making eye contact, and by taking interest and asking questions. It’s social and psychological.
To truly connect with another person three things are required: you need to be real, you need to be authentic, and you need to be vulnerable. When you are vulnerable, you open yourself to others and invite them to connect.
The safer you feel, the more able you are to be your best self and do your best work. As soon as there is any tension or you feel threatened, you automatically to go into an instinctual “protect” mode. For many people, feeling safe is rooted in feeling connected.
The “Different and Weird” Factor
Difference can also create connection. We all have differences and are weird to someone. The important things to do is to appreciate and take advantage of those differences. Greater differences are conducive developing quality connections.
We are generally attracted to sameness because it creates a sense of safety. We often choose to associate with those who have similar physical or professional traits, which we then measure ourselves against. The problem is that you end up comparing yourself to your “competition” which strains the connection.
Look for different, go talk to them. The more you can expand your capacity for different/weird, the quicker you will grow your business.
This is what Kristy calls “Personable Business Introductions”.
The following structure will help you to get the most out of your networking. It is a collection of personal and business-related questions that can help you navigate and channel your conversation with a focus on productivity. Kristy also recommends listening to the speaker for three minutes without interruption followed by an additional minute to interact and ask questions. And remember, you are trying to create connection, so don’t turn it into a sales pitch.
Personal Talking Points
- – If we knew you, what would we ask you about?
- – What event or situation in your life caused you the most personal growth?
- – Share something random that the others likely don’t know about you.
- – Ask for something you personally need.
Professional Talking Points
- – Briefly talk about current business and/or position.
- – Talk about goal you’re currently working on.
- – Share a tip you wish you had known sooner in your business.
- – Ask for something you need professionally.
If you are able to offer information or help to the other person, write a brief note on your business card and invite them to follow up with you. This way you have made the connection, but it’s up to them to contact you for further information. This relieves you of the follow-up burden and makes it easy to be generous while networking. This process also gives the receiver clarity about why they want to follow up with each new contact.
During your next event, try Kristy’s methods for quality connection and greater networking effectiveness.