Communication

Improving Conversation Skills for Better Networking

2313 Inc Improving Conversation Skills for Better Networking

Networking. At its worst, it’s an exchange of banal small talk and glad-handing that you’ve been forced into by someone who’s read a blog post about the importance of networking. At its best, though, networking can be a great opportunity to make connections that can help you—or allow you to help others.

Ultimately, networking events are what you make them. If you think they’re going to be useless ordeals, that’s what they’ll be. On the other hand, if you go into a networking event armed with good conversation skills and a positive attitude, you may find that you get more out of it than you might have thought even in your most optimistic moments.

While we can’t help you with your attitude—that’s one’s up to you—we do have some tips for improving your conversation skills and making your networking better and more successful as a result.

Learn more about who makes up our team at 2313 Inc on our website: http://www.2313inc.com/team/

Make it about them

You’ve probably been held captive by someone who talks endlessly about something you don’t care about. Don’t be the person who does that. Instead, show interest in your conversation partner’s world. Start your conversations by asking an open-ended question about the work they do or their interests. Try starting with business-oriented questions like “How did you get started in this industry?” or “What’s your favorite type of client to work with?” If the conversation goes a little farther, consider asking questions along the lines of “What’s your favorite way to celebrate success?”

Don’t be a panhandler

No, we’re not talking about the person asking for spare change on the street, but we are talking about a similar attitude. Don’t approach people with the intention of getting something out of them, but rather with sincere interest and an attitude of “what can I do to help you?” By taking a constructive stance and wanting to be of service, you actually increase the odds that something good is going to come out of your networking activities.

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Listen. Really listen.

Most people don’t listen well. They’ll hear half of what the other person is saying and immediately start forming counter-arguments or thinking of things to say in response. But people respond best when they feel heard. Pay attention when the other person is talking—make eye contact, nod, or make affirmative noises—and use “active listening” techniques like paraphrasing the other person’s view and asking for clarification if needed.

Avoid taboo topics

We all know politics and religion are topics that should not be on the table at a networking event. But did you know that there are some other, less obvious things you should avoid talking about? Don’t discuss relationship status, for example, and do avoid comments on a person’s physical appearance. You might also want to avoid discussing major purchases or other things that could signal that you are of a higher (or lower) socioeconomic status than your peers.

Use positive language

Networking events are not the time to complain about your job, your commute, or your personal life. Instead, make sure your language is inviting and not overly blunt. There’s really no down side to using positive language (just try not to be too constantly chipper because that can come off as being insincere), and it’s a great way to avoid communication problems that arise from misinterpretation of blunter language.

What tips do you have for improving your conversation skills? Please tell us in the comments.

Easy and Effective Ways to Improve Team Communication

2313 Inc Easy and Effective Ways to Improve Team Communication

A team that communicates well eliminates many workplace issues.

At 2313 Inc, we value individuals that know how to communicate well. Learn more about the values and mission of 2313 Inc here: http://www.2313inc.com/2313incstory/2313inc-values-and-mission/

Good communication is the lifeblood of every successful business. Not only is it important to communicate well with your customers, it’s just as important to communicate well with your team members. If your team isn’t communicating well, they’re not working well together, and that can lead to problems with customer acquisition and retention.

Here are some easy ways to improve communication with your team:

Build Rapport

A great way to lay the foundation for successful communication is to build rapport in your team. Try taking everyone out for lunch, and tell them there’s just one rule: no discussion of anything related to work. A casual meal in which you’re talking about things you do outside the office is a great icebreaker and helps to open the lines of communication within and between teams.

Ask Questions

Every employee has their own way of perceiving and internalizing information. Knowing how your employees like to receive information—through email, a messenger service, an internal e-newsletter, or face to face—can help you create a better plan for regular communication. Your staff will also appreciate that you’re making the effort to maximize their productivity and understanding.

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Reach Out to Shy Employees

Not everyone is gregarious and extroverted, and that’s not a bad thing. Take the time to reach out to your quieter team members and show a genuine interest in them and their work. Be ready for your outreach to take a while before it achieves results; people don’t become shy overnight, so their shyness isn’t going to disappear overnight, either.

Make People’s Roles Clear from the Start

Communication can break down pretty quickly if team members don’t understand what their role is. Keep workflows transparent, make sure each team member understands how they contribute to the success of the project or the company, and be sure they know what channels the project has to go through for approval and completion.

Have One-on-Ones with Your Team Members

A weekly 10-minute check-in with your direct reports can make a world of difference. The check-in will give and your team members a chance to discuss issues and ask questions that may be better addressed outside a group setting. It can also provide a way to bring up performance or attendance concerns before they reach a crisis point.

Explain the Reason for the Ask

It may seem silly, but it’s quite possible that a team member may not know why you’re asking them to do something. Instead of assigning a task with no context, help your team member to understand the value and significance of the task you’ve asked them to do. Not only will it help the person to feel like that they’re doing something important, it will go a long way to helping them understand their role in the company.

Offer Constructive Feedback

Focus on the behavior rather than the person’s character. For example, if you see that a team member is frustrated or struggling, give them some tips on how they can meet their goals and ask what you can do to help. And, of course, allow your team member to share their thoughts and be a part of the solution to any problems you may be facing.

Effective communication lays a foundation for success, both for your company and for individual team members. It can be time-consuming to establish or improve communication, but it’s worth the effort. If you put in the work, you’re bound to reap the rewards.