How do you want to leave people feeling after they have interacted with you?
Over the years I have encountered a wide range of personality types in attendance at my events and whilst variety is the spice of life and differentiation is an important aspect of business, there are still a certain set of standard rules and etiquette to be considered when in conversation, because after all conversation really is an art and for some, takes years of practise to perfect.
Halloween is now behind us and it’s a downhill slippery slope towards everything festive, however before we arrive at the illuminated cheery season of goodwill, I’d like to transport us back to the spooky season for just a short time, whilst I share with you seven types of people who scare me when it comes to my industry of networking (and I’m sure you have crossed paths with at least one or two)!
1. The Hare (not the tortoise)- Those who treat networking like a race to meet as many people as possible and collect the most amount of business cards, but never really get to know anyone in much depth- networking is about relationship building and is not a competition.
2. The Space Invader– Those who stand too close to you and uncomfortably invade your personal space in conversation, making you feel irritated and distracted. Even worse is when you move to back away from them and they follow you- don’t be a space invader!
3. The Nosy Parker- Those who try to get to know you (perfectly acceptable) but ask intrusive questions with judgy undertones. This again can cause uncomfortable moments in conversation that can go on to create an atmosphere or awkward pauses and silences.
4. The Mood Hoover Those who sap all of your energy and smother you with their negative vibes. Nobody wants to be around that person, so even if you are going through a challenging time, there is a time and a place to offload and networking events are not to be used as therapy sessions, find a comfortable balance in conversation and set boundaries.
5. The Tyre Kicker– Those who simply give it the big ‘I am’ and are complete time wasters. These types of people tend to like the sound of their own voice, are not necessarily great listeners and can show themselves to be disingenuous. Remember that people will buy from you if they like you and believe you to be honest, respectful and have integrity.
6. The Interrogator – It is important to find a natural balance between asking great questions and listening to the responses, without coming across as interviewing or even worse- interrogating. We have all been in that situation where we feel slightly violated by a strong personality type who flies in like a whirlwind and askes a million questions in succession without really listening to any of our responses.
7. The Closed Listener– As Stephen Covey said – “Most people do not listen with the intent to understand, they listen with the intent to reply”. Let’s face it we all have our off days when we are distracted by our own thoughts, however the best conversationalists are those who listen with intent and form their next question or statement around the speaker’s previous response- a trick of some of the best interviewers, so listen like an interviewer and see how naturally the conversation flows.
Ask yourself the question- How do you want to leave people feeling after they have interacted with you? Then ensure that you make every effort to make others feel that very same way.
Fiona Duncan-Steer, RSViP www.rsvipnetwork.co.uk