Don't talk about the weather
Ilise Benum shows us 'How to Make a Connection'
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Ilise Benum noted upon her arrival to conduct a recent self promotion workshop for the New Jersey chapter of the Business Marketing Association, that everyone was busy chatting -- but the topics of the day were the Oscars and the weather -- not a great way to make a strong connection.
She then lead the group in an exercise called "How to Make a Connection." She gave everyone a list of 4 things to do during a 20 minute conversation with their partner. Here's the list they received:
1. Find something in common.
2. Learn something new from one another.
3. Offer an idea, a contact or some other resource. Hint: you have to first find out what they need.
4. Find a project to collaborate on.
At the end, participants raved about how much more productive their networking was when they had an agenda. This list is also a great way to create a real reason to follow up with new contacts after an initial meeting.
I suggest you print this out and bring it to your next networking event (business or personal) and see how much more productive your exchanges can be.
Ms. Benum is the author of Self Promotion Online and Designing Web Sites for Every Audience. Her articles have been featured in business media, including Working Woman, HOW Magazine and Nation's Business.