Exit Gracefully From Networking Conversations

Exit gracefully from networking conversations

Business connections at networking events are great. But you don’t want to churn away the entire event on a single conversation. And if you’re going to engage in multiple conversations, it’s important to know how to exit gracefully from networking conversations.

Keep in mind, however, that this is not speed dating. Nothing says you need to engage in a dozen or more different conversations over the course of an hour. Two or three is usually plenty. Remember, this is networking which is building relationships.

To be successful at networking events, you should develop some ways of moving on. As with anything else, honesty is the best policy.

Here are some great lines for doing that:

  • “Thanks for your time. I told myself I would meet three interesting people at this. I have two more to go.”
  • “There is someone over there that I need to connect with.”
  • “Is there anyone in particular here you would like to meet? I would be glad to introduce you.”

Give one or more of these a try at your next networking event and let me know how it works.

Great Questions To Ignite Small Talk

Great Questions To Ignite Small Talk

Small talk kick-starts the networking process. Small talk, however, is about getting the other person talking. This begs the question: What are great questions to ignite small talk?

While there is no magic, planning is paramount. Be like an attorney – prepare your questions before you ask them. In other words, have a small handful of questions ready to go, each of which relates to the person’s life, either professionally or personally.

From there, allow the conversation to take itself wherever. A few of these questions could include…

  • What do you do? How long have you been doing it? How did you become interested in that?
  • What are some of the projects or assignments you are currently working on?
  • Are you from this area?
    • Yes – What part?
    • No – What brought you here?
  • Outside of work, what occupies you? How did you become interested in that?
  • What are some business or community organizations you are involved with?

These will give you a start. From here you might want to formulate your own series of questions. Note that these questions cannot be answered with a simple YES or NO. To generate conversation, questions must be open-ended.

And again, there is no magic. It is simply a matter of planning for how you will get and keep them talking.

Tips For Making Small Talk

Tips for Making Small Talk

Here is an important thing to understand: Small talk is NOT about filling idle time with interesting things to say. Small talk is about getting the OTHER person to fill idle time with things to say and you genuinely finding interest in it. But what if you don’t like making small talk or don’t feel like you’re very good at it? Fear not! Below are three tips for making small talk.

The key to success in small talk is having a simple, reliable game plan. Try this one:

Step One: Ask A Question

Now, remember, the key is to get them talking, so you need to be ready with questions that are open-ended. “Isn’t this weather crazy?” will not cut it. “How does this crazy weather affect you?” just might.

Step Two: Listen … Really Listen

Take an interest in what they have to say, even if the subject is not particularly interesting to you. Why? First, you just might learn something, something that could help you or something that you can use to help them (which ultimately helps you).

Second, (and this is counter-intuitive) if you take an interest in them and whatever they have to say, they will find you to be a very interesting person. It may sound backward but it’s just human nature. People tend to like those who show a genuine interest in them.

Step Three: Summarize & Share

As a follow-up (to show you were really listening), summarize what you have heard and then share a little about the subject as it relates to you. “So, as an avid water skier, all this hot weather must be great for you. But I find that it kills my golf game.”

Finally, just like the instructions on the shampoo bottle – lather, rinse, repeat – ask another question. Perhaps one that’s related to the first question or maybe some other tangent you would like to explore based on what they said in their answer. For example, “So, if you ski when the weather is hot, how do you occupy yourself when it is too cold to take to the lake?” Whatever, the case, keep them talking.

From Small Talk To Networking Success

From Small Talk To Networking Success

Let’s face it … small talk has a bad reputation. But what many do not realize is how to move from small talk to networking success. The bad reputation probably dates back to the continual chiding our mothers did relative to talking with strangers.

While her warnings were intended to protect us as children from those who would prey on our innocence, we are no longer kids. We are big boys and girls. We operate in the grown-up world where strangers become good friends, great clients, and even reliable vendors.

Even still, however, small talk gets a bad rap. Far too often people see it as idle chitchat that has no productive value in the professional world.

Understand this. Our entire personal and professional worlds are formed and held firmly together by networking. And small talk plays a big part in successful networking.

Was That Networking Event Worthwhile?

Was That Networking Event Worthwhile?

Have you ever left an event and asked yourself, “Was that networking event worthwhile?” In reality, the answer is “Absolutely!”. After all, every event offers value. Some offer more immediate value than others. They all have value, however.

Track your results however you deem appropriate. But before you completely pass judgment on an event, remember that the benefits of any networking activity may not present themselves for weeks, months, or even years. So keep track of who you met, follow through on any promises you made, and patiently wait to see what comes from your attendance at this event.

The Golden Rule of Networking In Action

The Golden Rule of Networking In Action

No doubt, when interacting with others at networking events you are hopeful of getting things … clients, important contacts, and useful information. Understand this: The people you interact with are hoping to get these things, too. You can make an indelible impression on them by finding some way of helping them – even if only in a small way. So, as they talk, run whatever they are saying through a filter that queries: “How can I add value to this person?” This is the Golden Rule of Networking in action – Give first and get second.

There is nothing that says that you have to help them right there and then. If you can help them in that moment, great. If not, do not despair.

Just understand that you make the most of building that connection by trying to find some way you can add value to them later. It might be a referral. It might be a contact. It might be useful information for them. Whatever it may be, keep the Golden Rule of Networking in action – Give First, Get Second!

Getting Involved

Getting Involved

An often-overlooked means of getting people to Know, Like, and Trust you is Getting Involved.

To be successful in any business or profession, you cannot just hole-up in front of your computer and work the phone. You need to shower up, brush your teeth, and get out amongst people. Find groups and organizations to join.

Know this, however, you cannot just belong. You cannot just be in the community. You cannot just be in the Chamber. You cannot just be part of the Church. You cannot just belong.

To effectively network … to develop strong relationships … to build Know, Like, and Trust, you must get involved. Roll up your sleeves (actually or figuratively) and lend a hand.

  • Be an officer in a group.
  • Be a committee member of an organization.
  • Be something (anything) more than just a name on a membership roster.

Here is the test as to whether you are sufficiently involved. Answer this: If you did not show up, would you be missed?

If the answer is no, you need to work harder to get involved. By doing so, you raise your level of exposure and demonstrate your level of commitment to something more than just you. When you do these things, others will not be able to help but Know, Like, and Trust you.


Learn more about networking and AmSpirit Business Connections at www.amspirit.com.

Never Stop Giving

Never Stop Giving

“How do I go about getting others to know, like & trust me?” In the world of business and professional networking, that is the $64,000 question. One answer to this question is Never Stop Giving.

The Golden Rule of Networking

The Golden Rule of Networking states “Give first, get second.” In short, if you want to get things FROM your network, you first need to give things TO your network. If you are not sure what you have to give, here are some ideas.

  • Give referrals or additional contacts.
  • Share opportunities.
  • Connect people to information, such as book titles, websites, and groups on Facebook or LinkedIn.
  • You can even give intangibles, such as encouragement and support.

Regardless of what you give, the bottom line is this: give, give, give! When you give to others they cannot help but know, like, and trust you. And, as a result, they will want to return the generosity. In addition, you will develop the reputation of being a generous person. This will inspire others to want to contribute to you, as they trust that you are likely to give back.

Giving is Powerful

Giving is powerful and should become almost a daily habit.

  • Share information with others and they will share information back.
  • Give referrals to centers of influence in your network and they will go out of their way to return the deed.
  • Help your prospective clients with things unrelated to what you sell and you will be forever on the top of their mind (perhaps referring you clients down the road).
  • Be supportive of your clients and vendors and they will rave to others about you.

Therefore, with everyone you encounter, ask yourself this: “In what way could I help them?” When the answers come to you, take action. That will build know, like, and trust like nothing else. And remember to never stop giving!


Learn more about networking and AmSpirit Business Connections at www.amspirit.com.

Creating Solid Networking Relationships

Creating Solid Networking Relationships

Creating solid networking relationships can be distilled down into three simple words: Know, Like & Trust.

  • You build relationships when people get to know you and you get to know them.
  • You build relationships when you get the people you know to like you.
  • And you build relationships when you do the things that allow other people to trust you.

Here is a simple reality – people (yourself included) do business with those they Know, Like & Trust.

You likely have the accountant, banker, or financial planner in your life because, all things being equal, you Know, Like & Trust them. In fact, all things being UNequal, you would still opt to do business with the person you Know, Like, & Trust. Think about it. If you have automobile insurance, there is no question you could find the same coverage for less. Yet, you stay with the same agent. Why? You Know, Like & Trust that person.

Know, Like & Trust is a powerful component of human nature. If you can get people coming to the conclusion that they Know, Like & Trust you (at a very gut level), they will more likely be moved to help you … refer clients to you … introduce you to centers of influence … and direct you towards beneficial opportunities. So, at the end of the day, know-like-trust is the foundation for creating solid networking relationships.


Learn more about networking and AmSpirit Business Connections at www.amspirit.com.

294) Newton’s Law And Networking

Newton's Law and Networking

In her book Rainmaker Roadmap: A Step-by-Step Guide to Building a Prosperous Business, author, speaker and consultant Kimberly Rice addresses a common occurrence when building and growing a healthy network. That is, the uncertainty surrounding when and why you reach out to your network and what to say when you do.

In response, Rice draws on Newton’s law of motion: “For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.” In networking terms, the more goodwill you extend, the more it will come back to you.

She shares that your “reaching out” messages should have a helpful spirit, with the true intention of checking in. Checking in on your contact’s business. Or seeing how they are making out with a recent transition or new position. Or following up on something personal in their life.

So, add a little physics to your networking skills with Newton’s law of motion. Sincerely reach out to someone. And then expect an equal and opposite reaction.


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