Be A Better Networker By Playing Networking Solitaire

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.


4 thoughts on “Be A Better Networker By Playing Networking Solitaire”

  1. Could you provide an example of things you would consider remarkable, unique or interesting and how you would go about asking those questions?

  2. I always look for personal areas of commonality. Questions like “where are you from?” “Where did you grow up?” “where did you go to school?” can trigger responses that allows you to dig deeper.

    Then with their business I try to get into the details of what they do. If they say they are a barista at Starbucks… i will ask about the process of making coffee, etc. How do that make it so consistently perfect. Have they been able to come up with ideas of making stuff better/faster? How do they report that to management? Does management listen?

    The key here is to realize almost all of us talk at the surface level. If I ask how your day was, you will say “good” regardless of what happens. Very surface stuff. So by asking you questions about specific things and going deeper, we find the uniqueness. The stuff that makes this person distinct.

  3. When people think you care about them (and you should), they’re more apt to open up. I also like to ask people how they would solve a particular issue I’m having or have had. That always leads to interesting discussions. Most of us have no problem giving an opinion!

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