Ready Responses for “Working” Your Next Networking Event

two handed hand shakeNetworking is a skill requiring a certain amount of grace, confidence and courtesy to do well.  Some people are naturals at it. Yet many business professionals are unsure of just how to “work the room” with grace when they attend an event.

Here’s what gracefully working the room includes: 

  • Keep conversations short to allow connecting with many
  • Be positive and courteous to those who interest you and those who don’t
  • Graciously terminate conversations
  • Be smooth and pleasant as you move from one contact to another
  • Leave everyone you meet feeling better because of how you treated and respected them
  • Listen and be present to each person you speak with in conversation

Your success is based partly on your attitude and approach, and partly on what you say. 

Here are some ready responses that will make you a better networker…that’s assuming you bring a good attitude with you as well:

 

  • “Thanks for your time! Will you excuse me? Someone I promised to meet just arrived.”

 

  • “Hey, there is someone I’d like to introduce you to. Will you follow me?”

 

  • “Great to chat. I’ve got to take a quick break. Hope to see you later.”

 

  • “Well, good to see you. Gotta make sure I get around the room today.”

 

  • “Wish I good chat with you longer, but I promised myself I’d meet lots of people here to today.”

 

  • “You know, I’m sorry to cut you short, but the time here is so limited! We both need to meet others in the room today.”

networking

 

 

  • “Looks like it’s time for more networking. Thanks for your time.”

 

  • “I’m glad we finally met. Can we talk about this more by phone? I’d like to call you to follow-up.”

 

  • “That’s very interesting. Thanks for sharing. You’ve given me something to think about. Now I have to see if I can catch this person I just saw arrive.”

 

  • “Pleasure to meet you. See you again. I’m going to make the rounds now and will catch you another time.”

 

In networking like everywhere in life, you’ll meet business professionals you really want to connect with. And others, not so much. Some people you won’t find professional at all, and some you just won’t want to spend your time with.

 

friendly attitudeBut, it’s networking! Your impression and your reputation are important, not just to those you like, but to all those you meet. Ideally you want to leave a flowered path behind you full of people who find you gracious and pleasant, not to mention professional and business-like.

 

Your goal is to connect, be sincere and leave a lasting positive impression with everyone. Having some ready responses will help. It will keep you from fumbling with your words and wondering how to move around the event with ease.

 

Tell me…which phrase, or two, above is one you’d use? Your favorite “line” so to speak? Love to hear what works for you!

Are These 20 Phrases Damaging Your Career and Holding You Back at Work?

holding woman back at officeSome phrases we learn from our parents. Some we pick up listening to others. Some are just filler that make us more comfortable when we’re speaking. Many, unfortunately, are ineffective in creating great communications.

Check these out. Do they sound like you?

 

1.  “You really should…”  –  No one wants to be told what they SHOULD do.

2.  “You really shouldn’t…– And possibly even more what they SHOULDN’T do.

3.  “You made me feel…” – No one makes us feel anything. Our feelings and reactions are our choices.

4.  “You never listen” – This phrase is sure to shut down listening even more!

5.  “……… but ……….” – Any phrase followed by “but” negates anything said prior. Use “and” instead.

6.  “To be honest, I ________” –  This infers that maybe you weren’t being honest before, or that you aren’t always honest.

7.  “Basically”– It’s filler. It weakens your message. Learn to just say what you need to say without this lead-in.

8.  “You never” or “You always” – These generalizations are sure to shut down conversation or spark conflict.

9.  “We need to talk!”  – It sends heart rates up and folks running, as it is NEVER followed by good news.

10. “Why can’t you be more like …….?” –  You may have heard this as a child, but even there this phrase can produce nothing positive.

11. “You do that every time we …..– It’s accusatory, generalizing and will shut anyone down.

12. “Maybe” (when you really mean “no”) – If you are thinking “no”, learn to say it. Clearly, honestly and appropriately. Maybe leads to confusion down the road.

13. “It’s not my fault!”– True or not, let that fact be made clear by your conversation and explanation, not by sounding like a child defending themselves.

14. “What you have to understand is………”– No, it’s not true. No one HAS to understand anything. What you mean is “what I hope you understand is”…

15. “That’s not fair” – Unless you are under the age of 5, omit this phrase from ALL communications.

16. “With all due respect”– This phrase usually precedes passive/aggressive communication and is not offering respect at all, and it’s overused.

17. “That’s not a good idea” – You may think that, but a better way to respond might be, “Here is a concern I have about this idea” or “let’s examine that idea together.”

18. “Why would you do that?”  This one is usually full of “tone” and judgment. If you can deliver it as a genuine, neutral question of curiosity, it might work. Otherwise, skip it.

19. “Don’t take it personally– First of all, this phrase never stops someone from taking it personally and it usually precedes feedback that is potentially upsetting and personal to the listener. Just learn to deliver your feedback well…without this phrase.

20. “You need to …… – Another form of telling someone what to do. It’s not up to you to determine what someone else needs. You can request or suggest, or as a boss you can say, “Here is what I need you to do.”

If these expressions are part of your communications at work, it’s time to delete them and master some new, healthier responses.

Let me know you’re out there. Which ones do you struggle with? What expressions do you need a new response to substitute?

What to Say….. When You Forgot What You Were Saying

Ever been in the middle of a conversation when suddenly…..huh? …..  what? You’re lost. Sometimes it’s age-related. But it can also be a result of fatigue, anxiety, or even food allergies that affect mental clarity.huh

Whatever the cause, it’s helpful to have ready-to-go responses for those moments. Rather than struggle with embarrassment or self-criticism, it’s important to keep in mind, this happens to everyone. The more anxious we become over these moments, the slower our minds clear and “reset.”

Imagine this.

You’re on a phone talking business about an important project. Suddenly you’re blank. You experience a momentary loss of memory. Most of us stutter and stammer, unsure of what to say, unsure of how to deal with the gap.  A better alternative is to have some ready-responses, even if they have to be written down in front of you for just such an occasion. After all, if you’re on the phone, who will know?

Choose from these ideas, or use them to create your own response:

  • “I hope you won’t mind if I take some time to think this over. I’d like to give it just a bit more time and call you back to finish our conversation.”
  • “Let’s review for a moment….can you recap for me?”
  • “Sorry, I have a call I’ve been waiting for and need to take. Can I call you back?”
  • “Tell me, what are your thoughts here?”
  • “So, in your mind, what’s next?”
  • “Do we have time to think this over and talk later today or tomorrow?”
  • “Someone just walked into my office, are you available to talk about this more later?”

Obviously, not all of these are appropriate for every situation. It will be different if you are speaking with your boss vs. a team member, if you are in front of a group, or one on one. But each of the above responses should give you food for thought to come up with your personal favorites.

Let’s suppose your short-circuit moment is in a personal conversation. Depending on who you’re talking to, it might be best to say, “Can you remind me where we were? My mind drifted for a moment.” Or even, “Tell me that again. I’m not sure I got everything you said.”

I forgot

Or, try one of something like this:

  • “Ugh….someone just interrupted me, where was I? “
  • “Ok, let’s backtrack a moment. I need to review. Where were we?”
  • “Give me a hand here, I got so ahead of myself in thought, I lost track of what I was saying. Can you refresh my memory?”

The less fanfare, the less apology and overreaction to these mental skips, the faster your mind will reboot and come back to the topic of conversation.

Everyone occasionally loses track of themselves, with no memory of what was just said. But in business situations or pivotal moments with an employee or boss, it might not be best to share that. Instead, take a breath and find a graceful way to resume the conversation. You’ll be able to move on without embarrassment and without missing a beat.

Check out our next post this week for more ideas on how to handle a mental gap in your conversation.