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This course is one of a series of five Dave Crenshaw courses based on his Invaluable teaching methodology for professional development.
- Understanding how networking enhances your career
- Getting out of your comfort zone
- Making recurring connections
- Using a customer relationship management (CRM) system
- Building relationships through social networking
Skill Level Intermediate
Many people are naturals when it comes to connecting in person, it is relatively easy for an outgoing person to meet new people and turn them into fast friends. But what about the rest of us what if you consider yourself shy or introverted does it surprise you if I say I know exactly what that is like. I consider myself very introverted when it comes to social situations, I have had to learn how to get out of my comfort zone when it comes to meeting new people, So I would like to share with you some tips I have used that may help you get out of your comfort zone as well.
First be open to anything, understand that not everyone you meet will be or needs to be your friend. Many times I felt uncomfortable going into social situations because I felt I had to make everyone like me, the reality is when you go into a convention or an association you can't meet everyone and not everyone you meet will connect personally with you. That is perfectly okay, accepting that reality may help put your mind at ease.
Tip two is set a target for yourself, what this means is that when I go to a new situation say attending a Chamber of Commerce meeting for the first time I might set a goal for myself to talk to at least five new people. Again not everyone you meet will become a connection but by setting a simple attainable number for meeting new people that may help nudge you a little bit outside of your comfort zone. Step three is break the ice, it is a cliche phrase but still works, you will want to have a few questions or statements that you can use to help begin a conversation with any person that you meet.
For instance, I don't believe we have met what is your name or if it is your first time that an event you might say how many of these events have you been to which will just begin the conversation or tell me about yourself or what is it that you do any of these very simple icebreakers will begin at the conversation. You can certainly come up with your own as well. Fourth play ping-pong I freed this metaphor for many other trainers and it is great, having a conversation with another person is like playing ping-pong.
When you play ping-pong you hit the ball back and forth it is the same when networking in person you want to avoid having either one of you do all the talking instead make it a casual, comfortable back and forth conversation. And finally step five is look for loose bricks. This goes hand-in-hand with the principle of give first that I taught at the beginning of this course. Many people you meet have an emotional wall that they've built up because they do not know whether or not they can trust you yet, the tendency is to be a bit guarded. This is natural.
However, to build a strong connection you want to get past the wall, a great way to do that is through loose bricks. Loose bricks are their hobbies, their interests and the things that they are passionate about. If you can help them talk about these interests you will find that that wall starts to crumble making it easier to build a connection. So as you are having a back-and- forth conversation with someone. Pay special attention to their hobbies and their personal interests, seek to be genuinely interested in them.
You may even find that you share common interests. But even if you do not you will be able to learn more about what makes this person unique, as a human being and find ways to build a stronger connection in the future. Of course there are many other things that you can do to get out of your comfort zone. Hopefully these five tips will get you started in the right direction and make it a bit easier for you to make connections in person.
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