“Your presentation really spoke to me!” said Jo, an attendee at a speech I gave a few days ago in Carlsbad, CA on How To Communicate Like Duct Tape.
Jo continued, “At the cocktail party last night I asked Peggy about her family. I was being polite. For 15 minutes Peggy talked about her children.”
What’s wrong with this scenario?
Peggy has committed three communication fatal errors!
Networking Nightmare #1: Peggy’s conversation is one-sided. It’s a solid 15 minutes of The Peggy’s Family Show. Jo says nothing.
Networking Nightmare #2: Peggy is boring. She’s providing a grocery list of data about her kids.
Networking Nightmare #3 (the biggest issue here): Jo does not have children and Peggy’s monologue creates a vacuum empty feeling for Jo.
How to avoid these networking nightmares
Networking Rule #1: Know Thy Audience.
In the presentation Jo resonated with – I spoke about nailing down the demographics of whom you’re speaking to. Her experience with Peggy shows the nuance of how vital it is to put yourself in the shoes of the listener… as you talk. If YOUR conversation has NOTHING to do with the recipient, then switch topics.
Networking Rule #2: Be Compelling.
Don’t do a grocery list, aka data dump, on your kids, last vacation or upcoming business venture. A compelling presentation is never just about the data. Come prepared to share a fun story about one child/grandchild, or one mishap from your vacation, or one testimonial story from your latest startup.
Networking Rule #3: Listen More.
Try to be 50-50 with your conversations. Ask questions. Find something in common with your chat buddy. Be a giver and a taker.
Self-disclosure here – I have to work on Rule #3. I’m aware, especially with Robin and Judy – my work-out and walking buddies, that I can dominate the conversation. I always have tons of stories to share! So… these rules also apply to your interactions with dear friends/colleagues and not just at networking opportunities.
You can avoid alienating others!
Author: Karen Cortell Reisman is Founder of Speak For Yourself®, a communication consulting firm, and the author of 2 books on how to communicate. She lives in Dallas, Texas and thanks Robin and Judy for listening to all her stories across time!
Did you know we offer a free 20-minute communication consultation?
Source: thanks @Jo Riddle for this blog’s inspiration.
© 2022 Karen Cortell Reisman, All rights reserved
You always give very useful suggestions. Great advise for the non-professional speaker.
Thanks Steve! Your homework: tell more stories about your fabulous family rather than doing a list. Good luck, Karen