Networking HQ BLOG with Larry James

Sunday, September 7, 2014

“What do you do?” ~ Switch it Up!

Different is good. I am always looking for different ways to get other networkers attention. It’s been said that to call attention to yourself, you must pay attention to others.

switchitupIt’s time to take advantage of the fact that people love to talk about themselves. At large networking events, I’ve been testing something I learned from Rhonda Sher in her book, “The 2 Minute Networker.” She talks about the “inverted” elevator speech.

When someone approaches me at large networking events and asks, “What do you do?” I respond by saying, “I’m more interested in hearing about what you do.”

The response has been interesting. While they are going on an on about them and their business, I get to learn about their business and needs and then have enough information to help me determine how I can best help them. I can also quickly decide if they are someone that I should spend some more time with or if I should move on and talk to other networkers. Be watchful. There may be times when you do not want to avoid their question.

But you say, “Don’t you want them to know about what you do?” Of course. I have found that I just don’t need to start there because after they have told me about themselves, they always return to the question they originally asked. Always. And in the rare case where they might not, I write them off as someone with whom a relationship would probably not be worthy of pursuit. Now that I have really paided attention to them, they become curious about what I do. If it is someone who I rule out as a follow-up, I give them a quick answer and move on. I make it a rule to never waste my time initiating relationships that aren’t going to thrive and benefit “both” sides.

This idea does not work well in small networking groups because most everyone knows everyone already. Small meetings are more about your “30-second connection” (your statement of introduction) that is given at the beginning of most meetings.

BONUS Articles: What do you do?
How to Be a Red Ferrari in a Sea of Silver Cars
Do You Have an Effective “30 Second Connection?”
What to Talk About at the Follow-Up

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Copyright © 2014 – Larry James. Adapted from Larry’s latest book, Ten Commitments of Networking: Creative Ways to Maximize Your Personal Connections! Larry James is a Professional Speaker, Author and Networking Coach. He presents networking seminars nationally and “Networking” coaching by telephone or one-on-one. Something NEW about Networking is posted on this Networking BLOG every 4th day! Visit Larry’s Networking Website at: “Networking HQ!”

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1 Comment »

  1. […] someone will say, “”So, what do you do?” Those five words are on the minds of everyone you meet. Or, you will be given the […]

    Pingback by Power Your Connections ~ Give Them Something to Talk About! | Networking HQ BLOG with Larry James — Thursday, March 26, 2015 @ 7:30 am | Reply


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