How to make Business Networking Conversations Easier and more Natural
‘Every BIG opportunity starts with a small conversation’ Jackie Jarvis
Look at anyone successful in building business relationships, you will see that they are good at the art of conversation. If you think that sounds easy, think again. Having engaging conversations takes a lot of skill and practice. The more we rely on social media for our interactions, the less face to face communication is practiced, the less skilled we could be in danger of becoming. If your business relies on you to build relationships, the better your conversations are, the more opportunities you are likely to uncover and more able you will be to make the most of them.
Start with a More Natural Environment
Natural Netwalking gets you out of the office. You can walk and talk with other potential business contacts in a natural environment. Walking side by side can make talking easier and more free flowing.
Here are 6 ways to help your conversations flow.
- Don’t Get Stuck on Transmit. A good conversation is two way – you hit the ball into the other person’s court, and they return something back. Like a record if you get stuck on your own track you will leave the person cold, no matter what you say. The secret is to keep the other person involved by asking good questions, really listening to what they say and responding appropriately. This is often much easier to do when you are walking along together.
- Enjoy the Relaxed Informal Approach. You are outside together in a natural environment, there is no need to impress. Slow down, stay relaxed. Make a simple friendly remark or ask a question to get the ball rolling. Talk about what is going on in your immediate environment (that should be easy whilst walking) and find some common ground. Encourage a response and gently steer the conversation around to talk about something that will be useful to your ultimate discussion.
- Connect. It’s important to connect with the other person’s energy and pace. If they seem slow paced and calm, speak slowly and calmly. If they’re fast paced and loud, increase the energy and pace of your communication to match. Find some common ground as soon as you can. It might be something you both find funny, an opinion you share or something you both see as important. The quicker you create a feeling of connection, the more likely the conversation is to flow. You will find a connection will happen much more naturally, because you are already pacing each other as you walk.
- Be Interested. What makes this person tick? What is important to them? The more you understand where they are coming from, the better you will know how to guide the conversation. It is amazing what can spring from initial conversations when you show a genuine interest in what someone has to say. Your attention and genuine curiosity is more likely to gently open up the conversation and the relationship. You may also hear things that you can help with. It is amazing how deep conversations can get when you walk and talk. In a real environment you find the real person is easier to access and bond with.
- Share your Passion and Your Values. Let the other person see your interest, pleasure and passion for what you do and how you help your clients. Demonstrating what you care about, and what you value, is the quickest way to form a connection. Funnily enough when you are walking and talking it is much easier to remember a person and what they stand for.
- Be Yourself. Trust in the value of what you offer, so much so, that you can relax and just focus on the interesting person you are talking with. Don’t be tempted try to behave in a way that you think you should. There are no expectations. Walking together in the natural environment helps take down any barriers. You will find it much easier to just be yourself and connect with others on that basis. When you’re open and at ease you build people’s trust, and that’s when relationships blossom.