A valuable personal skill that seems to be missing at networking events is that of being a good listener.
As in my last post, we know that people often believe it’s the extroverts who make the best networkers. But we’ve already seen that by talking, we’re not listening.
And if we’re not listening, we’re not winning.
They tell us there are 5 Levels of Listening
1) Not at all – most common
2) Pretending – they make several ‘Aha‘ utterances, but are commonly elsewhere
3) Selective – getting only bits of the conversation that spark their interest,then thinking of other matters (what’s happening tomorrow, something they need to do later etc)
4) Attentive – this is usually only done in short 3 to 4 minute bursts & it takes practice
5) I call it Full-Body-Listening. Its using all the NLP awareness skills (watching body language, voice tone,facial movements etc)
Most people seem to be just waiting for their turn to speak. Levels 1 – 3. They’re not listening at all. They’re just framing what they’re going to say next. They’re on their own agenda
My advice is that if you ask a question, then take the time to listen to the answer. If you ask a question, choose to be at level 4 or 5
Another tip is to leave some silence.
Most people are uncomfortable with gaps in conversation. Knowing this is useful. Your prospect will fill the gaps with words, explanations, experiences and problems. The silence will nearly always be filled.
People love talking about themselves, good networkers encourage this and then they listen carefully to what is said (sometimes, even, to what is not said), they listen also for the way things are said; tonality and body language will always give a lot away… but only if you are listening, watching and only if you are consciously engaged and aware !
I’m sure you’ve also found in general conversation that people often give away so much more information than you asked for in the first place.They love to ramble on. It helps to make short notes of what you learn on their business card, at the earliest opportunity, this can be used in your small talk at the opening of your follow-up call, and it builds trust with your prospect – it shows you were listening
So, if you’re listening, there is usually no end of new opportunity to be found.
After all, it’s mostly for new opportunities to do business that we go networking in the first place, isn’t it?