"The royal road to a man's heart is to talk to him about the thing he treasures most."
Relationships are the backbone of everything we do, especially in business. Whether you intentionally network or avoid small talk like the plague, relationships are something you can't afford to ignore. A Harvard University study showed that only 15% of the reason a person gets, keeps, or advances in a job is related to technical expertise, but a crushing 85% has to do with our interpersonal skills!
Here's the good news: the best networking is what naturally occurs in authentic, real-life relationships. Networking isn't just something you do at professional mixers or conventions, rather, connections that leverage results are the ones we build every day. Networking is not an event, it's a lifestyle! However, daily networking means you may need to stretch yourself socially, which can be a challenge for Americans. The APA defines Social Phobia as an (irrational) fear of looking stupid, and social phobia is especially common in the United States. Social phobia can be healthy, acting as a "social glue" in relationships and protecting our reputation. But is there a down side? Does social phobia keep us from advancing? Maybe more than we think!
"You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you."
Conversations are a critical link in the chain of relationships that lead to success, so if you want to grow professionally you need to get over your nerves and genuinely enjoy people. Sweaty palms? That's ok! The best way to conquer fear is to go out and get busy! Here is a wonderful visual memory "stack" to move conversations forward and empower you for more proactive, inspiring conversations.
Visual #1: A huge brass nameplate.
Introductions start with names, and people love talking about themselves! Use names early and often.
Visual #2: Atop the nameplate sits a large white house.
Ask where someone lives or where they grew up. When people talk about their hometown they loosen up and you find many common connections.
Visual #3: Inside the house is a family playing board games by the fire.
Ask about family and important relationships!
Visual #4: On the fireplace is a large work glove and a clock.
Work and daily tasks are a huge part of identity. Chat about work, school, or how they spend their TIME.
Visual #5: The work glove holds the tail of an airplane.
Many people adore traveling and talk for hours about their adventures.
Visual #6: The propeller of the airplane is a tennis racket.
Ask people about leisure, hobbies, and what brings them joy.
Visual #7: The airplane propeller is attached by a lightbulb.
People love to discuss books they've read or concepts of interest. People think cool thoughts; encourage them to SHARE!
Visual #8: On the lightbulb stands a Private First-Class soldier.
If you want to genuinely connect, never forget to ask about Problems, Frustrations, and Concerns.
Visual #9: The soldier holds a football goal post and a trophy.
If you want to inspire, be sure to ask about goals, dreams, and accomplishments. Affirm and encourage people too!
Why make conversation? Because success stems from relationships, and great conversations always bring a 100% return. So, go enjoy people, and stop in to see us soon. We look forward to more wonderful conversations with you this year!