Remember that early romance feeling?
When you you spoke with your partner, not only gave you their undivided attention, they also commented and asked questions only a person really listening could ask.
When was the last time you felt really listened to when networking?
When was the last time you gave someone the gift of your complete attention when networking?
"When was the last time you felt really listened to when networking?"
In a world of competing distractions, the art and discipline of being completely present is becoming a scarce and valuable commodity. Too many networkers are wanting to let the world know about the great work they’re doing without being prepared to listen to the great work others are doing.
28% of professionals have found or been referred to a new role through network connections. We know networks are important, question is, how do we become more effective networkers with competing demands on our time?
There’s a reason why truly listening to another person is called being “present”. This goes beyond keeping quiet while someone is speaking. Being present is a real gift, it’s the gift of your complete undivided attention: no glancing at your watch, your phone or over the shoulder of the person speaking.
"Being Present requires an inner confidence in your ability to add value, a willingness to contribute and an openness to get to know others first -paying attention to what’s important to them."
Being present provides an opportunity to experience connection, creates a micro-climate of social intimacy and allows the person speaking to feels valued. When we do this well, we boost our ability to add value by sharing highly relevant information/ ideas and insights.
Taking the time to listen to someone with complete focus, makes it easy to recommend, refer or provide relevant information that might be valuable to them - either in the moment or afterwards - that makes you more valuable too. Face time is critical, people will help you if they know you and particularly if you’ve used your expertise and connections to help or provide recommendations.
At a recent networking event, what surprised me were the number of missed opportunities to add value. Standing in small groups, the pattern was: say hello, ask what the other person did, pause while they responded, then to respond with an elevator pitch, without engaging in the conversation.
Ever experienced that awkward pause in networking where the conversation ends abruptly? Chances are it’s because neither person has really listened to other and now that the formalities are out of the way, don't know what to say.
"When we give the gift of being truly present, we become more valuable"
Next time you’ re speaking with someone you’ d like to keep in connection with, I invite you to look at the person speaking like they are the most interesting person you’ve ever met, listen to what they’re saying, identify what they’re saying means for them in their world, respond with relevance and notice how they enagage.
Kerryn's mission is closing the confidence and achievement gap for women. Kerryn works with ambitious women to build confidence for career progression. Contact via firstname.lastname@example.org
Kerryn is Vice President of Professional Speakers Australia (VIC, SA, TAS), Founding Director of CORE Potential, creator of Results Roundtable, member of the Australian Institute of Training & Development and International Coach Guild.