• What’s your opening line?

    How not to have a conversation ( http://business-networking.co.uk/how-not-to-have-a-conversation/ )

    by Charlie Lawson on April 2, 2012 · 3 comments

    Last week, while at a networking event, I met a man called Mark. Here is a transcript of our conversation:

    Me: “Hello there Mark, I’m Charlie – what do you do?”

    Mark: “I’m an accountant.”

    Me: “Oh.”

    At that point, the conversation ended. Now, don’t get me wrong – I wasn’t trying to offend him (or every other accountant) – I just literally couldn’t think of anything else to say!

    Compare that scenario to this one – from the same event – where I got talking to a lady who was about 4’11”, (and I’m guessing here) was somewhere in her late 50s/early 60s.

    Me: “Hello there Anne, I’m Charlie – what do you do?”

    Anne: “I’m a weight-lifter.”

    Me: “What? Really? Tell me more!”

    I couldn’t quite believe my ears – how on earth was this lady a weight lifter? It didn’t make any sense, so I had to ask her for more about what she did. So Anne told me that her business was stress counselling – and what she did was help her clients lift weight off their shoulders. We had a very interesting conversation about her business, which left me in no doubt as to what sort of clients would help her grow her business.

    Comparing Mark and Anne’s responses then, the following points struck me:

    Mark’s was very inward focussed – telling me what HIS role is
    Anne’s made me think immediately about the benefits her clients get – i.e. focussed externally
    Mark’s left me with struggling to think of another question to ask
    Anne’s got me to say – ‘tell me more’ – which meant we had a proper conversation
    Many potential networking conversations never happen because of scenarios like the one with Mark the accountant. If, on the other hand, you can introduce yourself in a way that gets the response ‘tell me more’, you’ll go a long way to making your networking successful.

    Have you ever gone out networking and tried introducing yourself in this way?

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