Sunday, August 24, 2014

Networking Do's & Don't's Part 2

Years ago I attenuated a national convention that had a star studded cast of main speakers. Three times daily we were exposed to the best and the brightest that the human resource profession had to offer. In between speakers we attended break out sessions. One session caught my eye and I hurried down the hall to get a seat. Surely the room would be packed. The title:

Effective Listening: The Skill We Use the Most and Teach the Least. 

As I burst into the room looking for a seat I discovered there were only four of us attending the presentation. The room next to us was crammed. It's topic was "How to Use You Persuasion Skill's to Get What You Want."

The speaker wasn't surprised or alarmed. He said that his topic was often an after thought at these functions. They called him when they had a session to fill. I did learn two things I'd like to share with you today that I've found have increased my ability to effectively network with other people. 

Listening is the most effective form of communication.
When I listen, sincerely and intently, I am showing you a deep sign of respect, not only for the information you are sharing but for you as a human being. I acknowledge you as being valuable to me. I acknowledge and affirm your worth and value. 

Sincere and effective listening requires practice. Can you tell me what skill doesn't require practice? Most of the time when someone else is speaking we are fashioning our response to what they are saying. 

It is hard for me to listen. I was born with an over active enthusiasm gland. I mean no ill will when I trample all over what you are saying it is just that, well,sometimes I get so excited about agreeing with you or affirming you that I'm like the puppy who hasn't learned to make it to the door quite yet. (No Freudian issues here friends. Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.)

I want to honor you and your information so my mechanism to stay on task is to take notes. I don't fill a binder up but I do jot don't words and phrases in bullet points. It keeps me focused. 

"Okay John, but what if I am at a live networking event with a beverage in one hand and a snack in the other hand? How do I take notes?"

Excellent question. (You are such an amazing audience!)

One of my mentor's/heroes Ms. Stella Orange taught me how to write copy for web pages, newsletters, etc. Her method speaks towards writing headlines, things that will grab your audiences attention. I use that skill  as a listening tool when jotting notes isn't an option. I listen for themes or headlines - Verbal bullet points, if  you will. When the person is done speaking I'l l say something like. "If I understood what you were saying......"

BTW: Here is Stella's Web Site if you want to look at her stuff:

Listen With Your Eyes
What your eyes see often has more impact on you than what your ears might hear, especially if the the two don't match.  I've learned a lot about people by listening with my eyes. I've watched their gestures, their facial expressions and their body language. There is a whole field of study NLP, neuro-linguistic programming, that identifies how we process and relate to each other and how we learn.If I pay close enough attention and observe I can communicate with you effectively in a manner that is conducive to YOU.

Isn't that the point of networking, regardless of the medium - To take the Law of Attraction and put it to use? 

My purpose, goal, call it what you will is To Help Good People Become Better" I can't do that until I make contact with those good, great people and listen actively and attentively to their needs. When I do listen, I honor them and what they stand for.