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Be Interested, Not Interesting

June 22, 2011

By: Tim Augustine, Kent State

The art of meeting people is to genuinely be interested in their lives, job, activities and goals. Too many of us like to talk about ourselves, make sure we get our point across and make sure the other person knows what we want. Good networking means listening.
 
The first skill in being a good listener is acting like a good listener. Life has taught us to tune out much of the information that is thrust at us and we must change our physical body language to show we are listening.

A second skill is to establish eye contact. Our eyes pick up the non-verbal signals that all people project when they are speaking. Eye contact completes the connection and acknowledges the other person.

The final skill is to concentrate on what the person is saying. There is nothing more frustrating than when you know that the other person is not listening. A good listener asks follow-up questions and shows interest in the answers. A good listener will ask questions such as “tell me about yourself, what type of hobbies do you have, tell me more about your job.” People love to talk about themselves.

Be open-minded. Greet each new acquaintance with an openness to learn more about that person, a willingness to help and an offer to stay in touch.  

It pays to network in person, not only to meet new people, but also to keep your vital communications skills sharp. If you do network online, make sure you manage your online brand and perception. If using Facebook, for instance, make sure your profile is the image you want to portray to the world. Many employers use Facebook as a reference check.

The key to networking is to be organized. Develop a message for each type of person in your network and make sure you understand their needs as well. Networking is a reciprocal relationship and the most fruitful relationships are ones that help each other.
  
You never know the impact of your next meeting. It could be with a future boss, a best friend, a wife/husband or co-worker. Take advantage of your opportunity to meet new people and give back as much as you receive in your relationships.
 
Good luck!

About the Author: Augustine is a nationally acclaimed author and professional speaker focused on career development and corporate people strategies. He is the author of the book How Hard Are You Knocking? and has been featured on ABC, CBS, FOX and NBC and reviewed in USA Today, Wall Street Journal, LA Times, The Chicago Tribune, and The National Association for Campus Activities. His newest award winning seminar is titled “Landing a Job in a Difficult Economy.” To learn more about Tim, his books and seminars series, please visit www.howhardareyouknocking.com or contact him directly at 734-786-7162.

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