Great Speaking is Critical to Great Networking
“The single greatest ‘people skill’ is a highly developed and authentic interest in the other person.”– Bob Burg
Great public speaking best practices are critical to your great networking
Some great public speaking best practices include (1) be audience-centered, (2) have a simple structure to your presentation, and (3) ensure you give your audience a call to action.
You can apply these great public speaking best practices to your networking right now!
Read on to find out how.
Planning a public speaking presentation always starts with your audience. Your audience’s wants and needs determine the content of your presentation.
In delivering your presentation, your audience also gives back to you (1) the benefit of questions you might not have heard, (2) the pure enjoyment of being understood, and (3) the pleasant thought you helped your audience to become more competent in your topic area.
This focus on your audience when you speak publicly has direct applicability to your networking.
Many people fear meeting new people. They feel they will not know what to say to the other person. To some, this is daunting.
However, others realize that new people they meet are always the most interesting. That’s because there is so much to learn about the other person, including commonalities with you.
So, what do you say when you meet this new person. Do what great public speakers do. They concentrate on the audience – the new people you meet.
There is nothing more annoying than a person who wants to talk about himself or herself. Don’t fall into this trap. Focus on the other person – their background, why they came to the event, and how you can help the other person reach his or her goals.
Ask these three open questions and genuinely listen to the other person before you talk about yourself:
What line of work do you do, and how did you get into that line of work?
What brings you to this event?
How can I help you reach your goals?
By the time the other person answers these questions, they will usually realize they have been talking about themselves for a while and will want to talk about you.
You will often know some of the same people, which gives you both even more to talk about.
Focusing on the other person will certainly make it easier for you to “. . . Win Friends and Influence People,” as the title of Dale Carnegie famous book promises. It is necessary to be focused on the other person, but it is not sufficient to be a great networker.
You should plan the questions you will be asking the other person and in what order. In other words, you need to have a structure to your conversation.
Have you ever experienced speakers who are long-winded, disjointed in their delivery, and have too many main points you can’t remember?
This speaker might be you if you don’t plan the questions you will ask the other person. Just “winging it” has several pitfalls.
Number one. You may forget to ask the one question that would help you achieve your goals.
Number two. It is hard to remember the other person’s response if you cover too many areas in your conversation.
Number three. Not having a plan will sometimes cause you to stray into different subjects.
As in public speaking, planning a structure to your questions and how you will respond to the other person’s questions is much more efficient and effective than no structure at all.
Networking can again take some best practices from great public speaking.
My regular readers of this newsletter know that I am a big proponent of the Rule of Three.
The Rule of Three for public speaking says if you have a series of information details to convey to your audience, as your main points, it is more “digestible” to your audience if you have only three.
The Rule of Three works in public speaking because (1) it is easier for you to remember three points, (2) it is easier for your audience to remember three main points, and (3) it easily translates to your Call to Action for your audience you should have at the end of your presentation. Guess how many items you have in the Call to Action.
There is no accident in the previous section, where I suggested asking the other person three questions.
So, what have we gone over so far? You know to focus on the other person at a networking event. You know to have structured questions to ask the other person.
The last piece of the trifecta of good networking is the Call to Action.
Call to Action
Have you ever listened to a phenomenal speaker deliver an awe-inspiring presentation? You initially leave the presentation room feeling great. However, there is a knowing feeling as you get in your car to go home. You might say to yourself, “That was a fantastic speaker who delivered a great presentation, but what do I do with this information to better my personal and professional lives?”
ll networking conversations, like all presentations, should end with a Call to Action.
So, now you know what a Call to Action means for presentations. What forms does a Call to Action mean in a networking conversation?
First of all, unlike a presentation, you would probably not say in a networking conversation, “OK, our Call to Action is . . .” However, just as an audience has the feeling a presentation is coming to a close, the words you say will imply the Call to Action to the other person.
Examples of words used in a Call to Action in a networking conversation might be the following:
“Thanks for passing on John Smith as a lead, Bob. Would you be able to send him an e-mail introduction about me? After I see your introduction e-mail, I will send John an email and then get back to you later in the week to let you know how our interaction went.”
“I would be happy to introduce you to the marketing director at my company, Jane Doe. She could help you achieve some of your goals. I will send her an e-mail message about you tomorrow” I will copy you on the message. Then if you could send Jane an e-mail message, that would be great. Let me know how your interaction with her goes.
“Thanks, in advance, for submitting me as a guest to your next leadership breakfast. I am anxious to attend.”
Some of you may know what SMART goals are – specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bounded.
If you make your Call to Action SMART, you will be sure your goals will advance.
So, public speaking best practices (focusing on the audience – the other person, asking structured questions, calling you both to action) can make your networking great.
Don’t go network without them!
Your Call to Action
Concentrate on the other person during your networking conversations
Plan your questions for the other person before you get to the networking event
Never leave a networking conversation without a clear, simple, and SMART Call to Action
“The currency of real networking is not greed but generosity.”— Keith Ferrazzi
Frank DiBartolomeo is a retired U.S. Air Force Lieutenant Colonel and award-winning speaker, presentation and interview skills coach, and Professional Member of the National Speakers Association. He was awarded Toastmasters International’s highest individual award, Distinguished Toastmaster, in 2002 because of his outstanding work in public speaking and leadership.
Frank formed DiBartolomeo Consulting International (DCI), LLC (www.frankdibartolomeo.com) in 2007. The mission of DCI is to help technical professionals to inspire, motivate, and influence their colleagues and other technical professionals through improving their presentation skills, communication, and personal presence. Frank can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and (703) 509-4424.
Introducing a new book from Frank DiBartolomeo!
“Speak Well and Prosper: Tips, Tools, and Techniques for Better Presentations”