As managers and leaders, there is a need to ensure an excellent networking skills, that is, knowing how to deal with people. They should master the art of small talk and build alliances, as well as develop key contacts both inside and outside their organization, for the sake of the company they work for, and their own.
As a manager or leader, there is a need to ensure an excellent networking skills, that is, knowing how to deal with people. They should master the art of small talk and build alliances, as well as develop key contacts both inside and outside their organization, for the sake of the company they work for, and their own.
There is an assumption that seasoned managers or leaders would already know how to pull the ropes in the right places within the office environment. And so, I’ll primarily address this piece to those new and upcoming team leaders and managers.
There’s no secret to effective mixing or mingling. Within your own team, it’s important that you are visible to your staff. In this article, my focus is sociability within your peers, your fellow leaders and supervisors. You simply need to approach them at mixers, meetings, and conferences, introduce yourself and ask a friendly question to get the conversation rolling. Turn to them and say, “Hi, my name is …” Mention which department you belong, and let the dialogue flow from there. It might be intimidating at first, but in time, you’ll get enough confidence to do it.
Be natural and show genuine interest and enthusiasm. If your voice is flat, it might convey boredom. If your eyes wander while someone’s speaking to you, it will appear as if you care less of what other people have to say. On the other hand, pretending to care when you’re distracted or bored can also backfire. Strike the balance by not overdoing things.
Think in advance of a few icebreaker questions you can ask. Examples include, “what did you think of the speech?” or “How long have you been participating in this group?” Solicit others’ opinions without interrogating them, and they will open up to you. Be sincere and attentive.
Follow up on interesting points that speakers make. This proves you want to learn more from them. Don’t recite a litany of questions without acknowledging or reacting to the answers.
Look for openings in the conversation to express genuine praise or admiration. If speakers mention accomplishments, such as earning a professional designation or getting a new office or new job title, congratulate them. Prolong their pleasure by asking more questions about their latest triumphs.
When mingling within your company and you are a manager of another department, don’t assume your colleagues in other departments know what you’re doing. They may ask what you’re working on and how it’s going, so you should keep a running list of talking points to weave into the conversation.
Here are tips to enhance your networking:
Keep it positive
Stick to safe, upbeat subjects. Don’t ever be tempted to complain or talk critically of others.
Restate before you respond
If you need time to mull over an answer or you’re uncomfortable with the question, repeat in slightly different words what someone just said. This encourages the other person to elaborate what he or she means, which in turn gives you enough time to plan your most diplomatic answer.
Know in advance who’ll attend
It is to your advantage if you find out or review the list of attendees before hand. That way, you can identify influential people or anyone you want to meet, as well as plan a strategy how you’ll approach them.
As a parting thought, remember that some people may not socialize properly. Still, this is no reason why you shouldn’t do your part. Bear in mind that time and place will also determine how you socialize with others. Use your own judgment.