Talking to Strangers

A Socio-Economic Activity for Building Business Relationships

“The scientist is not a person who gives the right answers, he’s one who asks the right questions.” – Claude Levi-Strauss.

We grow up with our parents telling us to Not to talk to strangers. We study hard, talk to the folks in the next cubicle or in our study groups and then want to find a job. That is when we are usually first exposed to the “socio-economic activity” called Networking. And, it’s absolutely fear-inducing…

A few years go by and we want to advance our careers. Networking is again necessary.

Networking, when done well, offers great rewards. Doing it well is really a scientific activity. And, since scientists work well with a strategic plan and process, here is one to help you. Note that it is best to have someone help with this.

The Four Step Process to Successful Networking & Preparation
I. Organize:

What do You want to Accomplish?

  • What Events would help you accomplish those objectives?
  • Choose an Event
  • Develop a 5-15 second “Elevator Pitch” (10-30 words).  Most folks have “Twitter” attention spans

II. Evaluate:

• Who will be there?

• What Type of Topics may be discussed?

• Who can introduce you to a target person?

III. Prepare:

PRACTICE: Your 15-second “Elevator Pitch”. (30 words)

CHOOSE: Types of Individuals you want to meet

READ: 2-3 on-line articles related to the work and current social ( music, movies, sports) subjects that may be discussed.

IV. Execute:

• Stand Tall & Smile!

• Put out your hand and say “Hello”

• Ask Questions.
(See quote at top)

• Be more interested than Interesting”

• Follow-Up with an email, call or note after the event

There are many books and articles that illustrate the details of networking. However, it is a “communication” activity that is unique to each culture and situation. When preparing, use someone to help us review before we go such as a trusted colleague, friend or coach so you maximize your gain and minimize the pain.

Addendum: I recently had the opportunity to speak with the cross-cultural representative from the office of a U. S. Senator. We discussed networking strategies across cultures within the USA. As the workforce in the USA has become more diverse with skilled professionals who have immigrated here, a forthcoming article will target strategies and resources for all individuals to be more effective communicators when doing Intercultural Networking.

This entry was posted in Being Understood, Business Communication Strategies, Elevator speech, KISS, Know your audience, Listening, New Strategies, Practice Strategies, Presentation, Speaking “Etiquette”, Speaking speed, Toastmasters by AMG_Phyllis. Bookmark the permalink.

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