Your digital business card.

Posts tagged networking

Networking Questions

There is a German saying that roughly translates to “Those who ask are in the lead”1 that nails it pretty well for me. Now, I don’t mean to say, the one who asks is the boss (even though the saying is often interpreted like that). To me it rather means: the one with the questions acts as a guide through the dialogue that hopefully ensues. To navigate toward a constructive, fruitful conversation, the mindset you start out with is essential. Having the right questions not only helps you get into that mindset, it actually also helps triggering it in your counterpart.

  1. Wer fragt, der führt


The Networking Pitch (aka Elevator Pitch)

In some western cultures there’s this meme that women tend to visit the facilities in pairs or groups. Now, some of you male readers might believe that this is due to an evolutionary caused need to exchange gossip. That’s absolute nonsense. The fact is that there are always too few toilets in the ladies room, so there is usually a queue. Waiting in queues alone is boring. Bringing a conversation partner is thus a perfectly sensible thing to do. If that is not an option (no women at your table etc.) the next best thing to do when waiting in line is to start chatting with the others waiting. A great opportunity to brush up on your small talk skills (and listening skills of course), but that’s not what I’m getting at.


The Magical Business Card

Myth has it that in Japan business cards are handled like crossbreeds of raw eggs and diamonds. Not only do they carry contact data, they are all but considered an extension of the person. The recipient bows while respectfully handling the card with both hands, taking the time to study it carefully. And they should, as they have to behave towards the owner of the card according to their status and rank in social hierarchy. So they convey very valuable information.


Generosity Mindset

Years before I even looked into the networking topic, I read this Buddhist advice that you should let go of everything and everything you truly need, will come back to you. What seemed like a very spiritual thought at the time has actually proven to be a very hands-on guideline for me. Focusing on what I can give others sets a completely different tone to any relationship. This already influences the first conversation I have with a person. It changes the way I listen and helps me implement strategy one for being interested in a conversation partner. See my previous post on listening skills.


Listening Skills

We are all able to listen, but listening well is an art that takes a lot of practice to master!


Networking is about Listening

Have you ever encountered one of these clingy, slightly obnoxious people at a work event, who want to sell their idea to you at all times? At first they strike up a friendly conversation and you figure “pleasant chap, open and good at socializing”. You exchange business cards, and after reading theirs you decide that they are only mildly interesting to you. And then they don’t seem to know when to stop. They keep on raving about their idea – at the coffee break, during a speech, they pounce on you at the lunch buffet… And when you finally thought you escaped them in a small workshop, they manage to track you down and gleefully seize the seat next to you. And they have yet to ask you about your current job or your reason for being at this event.