Now, I know I’ve said all along that in order to be interesting, you should be interested. Asking questions about others is far more important than telling them about us. That being said, though, through the natural course of conversation, the other person is likely to ask you about yourself. If that happens you had better have something to say.
But why would it be important what you have to say? Isn’t it enough that you are willing to listen?
Listening is good to be considered a sparkling conversationalist. If you want to make a real connection, though, you really need to find that common point of interest. Of course, you can find some common points with work. After all, we all experience many of the same things over the course of our careers. A better place to find them, though, would be in our interests outside of work.
As an example, early in our friendship, I had the opportunity to go on a four-hour car ride with my friend Lindsay McCarthy (a great networker in her own right). Over the course of the trip, we discovered a number of common threads in our lives. The one that really spoke to me, though, was when she, who appeared to be a completely “normal” person, admitted to loving the television show “Battlestar Galactica“.
She was a science fiction nerd, just like me!
Now, I can’t say anything on her behalf, but I know that, for me, the knowledge that we share a common heritage of sci-fi has definitely bumped her up more than a notch or two in my book. The more such commonalities a relationship has going for it, the stronger it will be.
So, while you are developing your network, be sure that you are also developing yourself. Read books, see movies, play sports. Whatever it is, it makes you more of a person and gives you more in common with those around you.
And it makes you a lot more fun to chat with.
Photo credit: Marcin Wichary