Conducting Your First Post-Pandemic Networking Conversation

May 17, 2021

Building a broad professional network to support your career requires a strategy, time, and effort. Let’s be honest, the past year has presented many career challenges and one of them was our relationship building in a virtual world.  Not having face-to-face opportunities at networking events, association meetings, or over has left many of us feeling less connected than we would like.

I’ve heard from many of my colleagues: “I can’t wait to get together for coffee or lunch. We have so much to catch up on!”

How true it is!  Who doesn’t have a story to tell about what has happened to them or to others they know? I can see it now… one person starts talking and you start to say, “That happened to me, too!” It creates a ping-pong conversation.

If your intent is to reconnect and rejuvenate your relationship, I recommend spending more time listening to the other person’s story before you begin to tell yours.

That’s right, I said it. Do not talk. Not yet.

Instead say something like, “Before we talk about me, I want to hear more about you.”

Saying something like this will make them feel listened to. They’ll appreciate having the space in the conversation to share their recent experiences. And all of those positive feelings will be remembered as how you made them feel.

So, spend some time during your conversation really focusing on your companion and what their experience was.

I’m not saying that you don’t get to talk. I’m saying don’t talk yet. Take your time getting to you. When they’ve gone a bit into their story and you’ve asked a few questions, then you can talk.

This is just the beginning of the networking framework that I offer through my book, You, You, Me, You: The art of talking to people, networking, and building relationships. It’s especially relevant right now, when we’re all getting reconnected.

I hope you’ll try it out. If you do, let me know how it goes!

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