Networking advice from Jane Fonda
Updated: Mar 15
“It’s better to be interested than interesting” ~ Jane Fonda
The word “networking” or “networking events” has been known to develop a response in business people. The image of a fast-talking young entrepreneur sharing their new business pitch has us think of different polite ways to ask them to stop.
Greatbusinessschools.org and Nowsourcing developed a powerful infographic, the key take away around networking; 72% say they were influenced by looks & handshakes. People who got the most results from their networking efforts participate more in face-to – face casual contact networks.
It sounds counterintuitive, doesn’t it? After all, you would think that being an interesting, fascinating person would help you connect with others quickly, especially when you are networking.
When you are talking about the other person’s favorite subject — themselves – and ask them questions about their lives, you can get them to open up right from the beginning.
From Think Human, Unleashing the Soul of Your Business, Lisa Swan provides us with 4 simple guidelines.
Tailor your questions to the individual-Instead of rattling off a generic list of questions, ask the other person questions about their lives, and have good, specific follow-up questions that are relevant to what they just shared.
Be an active listener-Do you find yourself in networking situations where it seems that there are so many distractions and you notice the other person is only half hearing what is being said….don’t be that person.. Instead, really listen to what the other person is saying, and respond to those comments.
Show sincere interest-You can’t fake this; it you do, it will be obvious. Instead, think of something that you find compelling about what the person said, and ask more about it. You have no idea how just showing sincere interest in somebody else can make a difference. People will think you are a great conversationalist, when all you did was ask them questions about themselves. They may also find you a thoughtful and, yes, interesting human being, even if you haven’t talked their ear off with your own interests.
Keep the connection going-After you meet, keep in touch with the people you networked with by being thoughtful. If you happen to come across something that relates to someone you just met, send them that resource. Show interest, and keep it relevant to the level of relationship you have with that person.
Of course, you can show how interesting you are as time goes on, but don’t be all “look at me” about it. Before you know it, a natural connection will form, and your new connection will think of ways for the two of you to collaborate.