You can be the smartest guy in the room, but unless you are an effective communicator, people will not want to work with you. Communicating is more than using sophisticated phrases or speaking with proper grammar, it is using words to create a bond with the people you are talking to. In most cases, effective communication has more to do with how well you listen rather than how well you speak. If you listen to what other people have to say and ask the right questions, people will want to continue talking to you. The more engaging the conversation is, the more successful you will be at networking with that individual.
Every time you network, you are really showing off your personality more so than your knowledge of the business. Asking the right questions is a much better sign of intelligence than trying to answer every question asked of you. Instead of making long winded answers, to which the other person probably isn’t interested, keep them short and always bring the conversation back to them. If you show a genuine interest in what they say and how they do their business, they will remember it and keep you in mind for the future.
You should never build yourself up by knocking someone else down. If you have a bad opinion of someone else in the business, keep it to yourself. You have no idea of what their relationship is with the person you are trying to get business from. By badmouthing someone else, it makes you look bad. How can your contact know that you are not saying the same thing about them when they are not around? Keep your opinions about others to yourself, regardless of your feelings. Always remember that when you are networking you are giving the other party a glimpse of what it will be like working with you. If you have a negative opinion of someone else, it will lead to questions of whether or not you were the cause of it.
In addition to what you say, you are also giving off messages through nonverbal communication. What clothes you have on and even how you wear your hair can tell something about your personality and how you work. When you are conversing and you constantly look at your phone or at other people in the room, your actions will be noticed. Everything you do when you meet people is taken into account. People usually form an opinion of you in the first few minutes of meeting you that could take weeks or months to change. That is why it is so important to always put your best foot forward when you meet people. You never know when you will meet that business changing contact at an investing meeting or networking club.
How you carry yourself and how you communicate will have more of an impact on your business than you may think. Your network will always be quick to judge everything you say and how you say it. If you keep this in mind and always try to bring the conversation back to others, you will gain an appreciation from everyone around you. Communication, in every way, matters in business.