The key to networking is not in the talking, it is in the listening and asking questions. This is true for a few reasons:
1. People like people who are interested in them. The more you ask questions about them, and simply listen, the more they will automatically like you.
2. You learn from listening, not talking. By asking questions you will learn about this person, and you can find if there is a connection for business or something else.
3. The people who listen and ask questions actually control the conversation. If there is something specific you want to learn or need to know, just ask and the direction of the conversation will go that way.
Now that we have clarity on the power of listening and asking, there is a way you can become instantly better at it: networking solitaire. The method is this, for every person you meet mentally list ten things about them or their business that is remarkable, unique or interesting. Once you get your ten, go to the next person.
On average it will take you 8 to 10 minutes to get your ten points. Which, in the networking world, is the perfect time to move on. Just be sure to grab a business card before you part ways, so you can follow up if an opportunity exists.
And be sure to jot down a few of your mental notes on the card, before your store it away. That way, when you do your follow up with them you can pick up where you left off. And that’s darn impressive.