We all talk about networking. We all seem to know that networking has something to do with meeting enough folks to continue to build our referral network, which in turn will continue to build our businesses.
Referrals come when someone you’ve met likes you and believes you can offer the solution to someone else’s problem. So, if the goal in networking is to have someone like us, and possibly offer us a referral, then why do people make the mistake of engaging in conversations that do not promote relationships?
My mother attended a party last week. She met a radio personality who immediately began talking politics with my mother. As often happens, the two did not agree and a strong debate developed. Both parties walked away very unhappy with the other. Neither is going to receive a referral as a result of this meeting.
I personally do not discuss politics with those whose opinions are strongly different than mine. It’s also not a topic I would introduce to a total stranger. No good can come of it.
Another mistake I see folks make is talking negatively about other people. It does not matter if the person is a famous movie star or the neighbor around the corner, when we speak poorly of others, it does not endear others to us.
I am constantly surprised when I meet people and I later find out they know someone that I know. What if I had spoken poorly of this person? What if I had said unkind things?
When I meet new people, I ask about them. I truly want to know about them. My views on politics are not relevant, nor are my views on the folks next door. What is important is my genuine interest in the person I’m speaking to.
This is true both online and offline. I often see folks speaking of others publically in a negative manner. I personally prefer to keep a distance. Otherwise I just might be the next person spoken about in an unkind way.
If you truly want to network, in an effort to build your referral network, then be careful about the topics and people you choose to talk about.