How do you have a really good conversation with someone new?
It’s not about finding the perfect words to impress them with your brilliance.
But you knew that.
It’s about listening, of course… but it’s also something else.
Because sometimes when you think you’re listening to the person in front of you, you’re actually listening to the noise in your own head.
Maybe you’re worried that when it’s your turn you won’t have anything to say, so you half-listen while you wrack your brain for a good response.
But since half your attention is elsewhere… your response is not there.
Enter The Listening Paradox:
When your attention is geared outward toward the world, you can listen inward for your genuine response to another person.
But if you’re in your head, you’ll miss your own response.
It’s so easy to forget to fully listen.
So here’s what to do about it:
- Trust first that you’ll hear something that you can respond to – that you will have a genuine response, or an association to, or a question about what they say.
- Let go of the need to have the perfect response and focus on the other.
That’s the only way to really listen.
It’s also the key to connection and even a great conversation. And it’s THE most powerful thing you can do when networking with potential clients.
Trust yourself first, then connect.
That’s how you’ll find the people who bring out the best in you.
And remember that you don’t need to “impress” anyone.
Want more on this idea?
Watch me explain - and give a few more connection tips you can use at your next networking event - in the Best Bits from our June SMP Office Hours, here:
Watch it here.
My good friend, Alan Seiden, shared this about how he listens:
“I’ve been reminding myself to listen more fully, lately. Hear the physical tone of the voice, the silence between words, be aware of the physical presence producing the sound, etc.”
Isn't that wonderful?
And here's something else. Your ability to network, converse, and connect isn’t static. It changes depending on the situation and the people you’re with.
My dog Fanny is the perfect example.
When it’s just the two of us, she’s terrible at networking, and randomly barks at other dogs. (I am convinced it’s a chemical thing.)
But when she’s away at doggy camp, she’s a different dog! She runs around with the pack and gets along with everyone.
I even have video proof, which you can watch here:
Watch Fanny running with her friends here in this LinkedIn post - and let me know how different situations change your own networking abilities in the comments.