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Effortless Networking Conversations the heart of networking

By: Sri Dasgupta




Conversation is at the heart of all networking activity.

How confident and comfortable are you, engaging people in conversation?

Many people have asked me recently about how to initiate and engage in conversation. In fact, over the past year, this has been one of the most popular questions!

Here are some of the ways it shows up:

  • How to open the conversation
  • How to break the ice
  • Knowing what to say
  • How to cut into a conversation
  • How to find out what people want to hear from me or what questions I should ask them
  • Getting to know people
  • Finding the confidence to initiate a conversation
And so on...

Sound familiar?

Since it seems to be a common concern and question for many people, here's a short but powerful exercise for those who are really serious about tackling this question.

This exercise may seem easy or even superficial, but it's not.

The questions I'm asking here are not trivial -- the more thought and effort you put into doing this exercise, the more you will get out of it.

So here it is:

PART 1: Gather "data"

For the next 7 days, keep an eye out for the following situations each day:

  • When during the day did you initiate a conversation with a "stranger" (i.e. someone you didn't know)?
  • What was the situation or context? For instance, were you in the grocery store, the train station, an airplane, etc.?
  • What led you to initiate the conversation? For instance, did you need information (e.g. directions), were you curious about something, did you have information you wanted to offer the other person, etc.?
  • How did this feel conversation for you? (E.g. comfortable, awkward, neutral, etc.) Why is this?

Jot down what you notice at the end of each day, so you can remember it.

PART 2: Look at your "data"

At the end of the week, look through your notes:

  • What patterns do you notice about when and how you initiate conversations?
  • What allows you to initiate conversations?
  • What specifically makes you to feel comfortable or uncomfortable in such conversations?
  • How are these situations similar or different from business networking conversations?

PART 3: Action Plan

Now use this information to your advantage.

  • What did you learn about yourself and how you engage in conversations with "strangers", from doing this exercise?
  • How will you use this information in the context of business networking?

As I said, it can be a very powerful tool for you, if you do actually do this exercise.

So if this topic is of importance to you, invest the time to do this seriously. I guarantee you will see improvements in your ability to converse with people. Good luck!

Sri Dasgupta - EzineArticles Expert Author

(c) Copyright 2006, Srirupa Dasgupta

Sri Dasgupta helps business professionals get better results from their business networking efforts through focused and relevant conversations. She is the author of the Effortless Networking, and writes regular articles offering business networking tips and related resources.



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