Have you heard the saying, “You have two ears and only one mouth”? The premise is we should listen twice as much as we speak. Next time you attend a networking event, look around. How many people are talking vs. listening? Who do you remember talking to? The person who rattled off their 30-second elevator pitch to you and then launched into a 15-minute description of their business and how it can solve the problem they think you have, or the person who listened to you talk about your business (or anything you chose to talk about)?
Most of those who attend networking events tend to be extraverts. I will admit, I’m a huge extravert. I tend to talk nonstop and not give anyone else the time of day. It is a great effort for me to force myself to shut up and listen—really listen—to the other person. But I can tell you one amazing thing. When I choose to listen, no matter what the other person is talking about, no matter if it’s personal, business or if I would ever use their services in a million years, that person remembers me.
It is not important how many contacts you can give business cards to or how many people you can meet in one night. In fact, if you run around the room shoving business cards into people’s hands do yourself a favor and save a tree—STOP. I can guarantee most of those cards will end up in the trash on the way out the room. What is important is how many quality relationships you can start with one simple act—listening.
Here are a few of my top tips for effective listening skills that will help you gain business from those who remember you:
Tip #1: Look them in the eye. Engage them with your eyes. They will know you’re paying attention. See Way 3 for more information on eye contact.
Tip #2: Don’t just nod your head, repeat something important they say back to them. This will show them that you really listened.
Tip #3: Do not finish their sentences. There are some people that will finish every sentence you say. That is annoying, a turn-off, and gives the impression that you are in a hurry and don’t have time to fully listen to them.
Remember that even if you don’t get to tell them what you do, hand them your card before leaving the conversation. I guarantee they will check out you and your business and remember you because you listened.
*This is an excerpt from Kristen’s latest book, 21 Ways to Build Powerful Relationships Through Networking
Do you have any listening tips? Crazy experiences? Comment below!
Photo courtesy Shutterstock, Brian A Jackson