In my book and seminars there is a section entitled “Casual, Incidental, By Chance Networking.”
It talks about those chance encounters that can lead to business, friendship or romance. I had the pleasure of meeting a recent client in exactly this way. I was on a business trip, one of 52 I have taken this year, when I started a conversation with an elegant gentleman sitting on my left. The conversation starter was the noticeable slimness of his laptop.
This led to a conversation about constantly needing to upgrade our technology and eventually led to how advancements in technology were impacting our society.
In my networking program today, we discussed how to start a conversation. Elizabeth pointed out that while with women, she could easily compliment an item of clothing or an accessory with men it was more difficult for her.
It would be great, if you have any conversation starter ideas. The laptop conversation ended in an exchange of names and a week later I got an email from the gentleman, requesting info on media training.
Yesterday I met with him and we had a great coaching session preparing him for an interview he is doing on GPTV.
And yes, it all started with a comment about his sliver slip of a laptop.
Now, while I assure you it is not part of my Greater Impact Networking philosophy to feel obliged to talk to every single person you meet, it is critical that you have the skills to do so if the situation is conducive. In essence, it’s ok to not talk to someone if you are not feeling up to it, but do not start a conversation out of not having anything to say.
I hope that makes sense to everyone. As I write this I am on the plane, having given a full day seminar on networking, so the last thing I feel like doing is engaging in small talk. That is my choice, and I want it to be yours.
Another critical thing that arose in today’s program was the usefulness of belonging to a business resource group or other business based networking group. There are too many to name, but some of the more popular ones include, [Women In Cable Television, The Atlanta Press Club, Women In Technology, Technology Association of Georgia, etc.] What is your favorite and why? Let us know which you recommend.
The point made was that very often these groups provide a forum to develop and showcase your leadership and perhaps other skills that your current job is not.
If you are active in a group it can also give you access on a level that your current job may not.
An example was Chris Dawson, who is currently heading Turner’s Next Gen Resource Group has more access to CNN management because of this, than he does in his position as an editor in media operations.
So it is often in these ways that people can gain visibility and a competitive advantage.
As always, we welcome your insight into giving your career Greater Impact!