How to Avoid Small Talk and Have a Real Conversation

“How are you?”... the most common greeting. When we hear it, it’s as though we switch into a “previously taped” dialog where we bounce our way through the standard pleasantries, literally without a thought.

For many people, it’s impossible to imagine a conversation with a stranger without small talk. These are the friendly and safe everyday topics we tend to fall back on if we’re feeling insecure about our conversation skills or the possibility of awkward silence.

While small talk may seem safe, in practice it does more harm than good. What mostly follows small talk is an absence of meaningful communication and a lost opportunity. You may have managed to navigate the interaction without any uncomfortable moments, but you also missed out on any chance of a real connection.

But fear not! Getting away from the same old automatic questions and sparking more authentic connections might be easier than you think. To avoid the empty topics and questions such as the weather, traffic, and the infamous “How are you,” here’s what you should do:

Tips for Starting a Conversation

1) Be aware and observant. Moving beyond the same old small talk is largely about kick starting the conversation with a more meaningful topic. One of the simplest and most effective ways to do this is using your powers of observation. What do you notice about the way the person presents him or herself, or about your surroundings, that could help you ask a better question?

Gary Burnison, CEO of the organizational consulting firm Korn Ferry, shares a great example of this:

“Let’s say you’re talking to the CEO of a large, iconic company who is about to retire, and you noticed a row of empty boxes along the wall of the CEO’s office. You might start with the question, ‘How hard is it for you to leave this job?’ This will lead to a much deeper and more emotionally revealing discussion, and it never would’ve happened had you not noticed those boxes.”

Similarly, you might observe something about the person’s outfit, belongings, etc. that is distinctive and worth a compliment: “I love those glasses...where did you get them?” That simple question could lead to a conversation about their style preferences, their financial values, or a host of other tidbits that allow you to build the conversation from there.

2) Share the News. Even when a conversation kicks off with the same old question of “how are you?” or similar, it doesn’t mean you have to give the same old answer. Another powerful way to break out of the “small talk death spiral” is to give a more authentic answer that breaks out of the expected norm. You might answer “I’m doing great, we are getting ready to head out of town on a big trip,” or, “This has been a really tough week at work but I’m doing okay, thanks.”

By sharing a just a snippet of what’s really going on with you, you accomplish two things. First, you give the other person permission to be real in their response as well, and who knows what you’ll learn! And second, you give them a clue for how to move the conversation beyond pleasantries. Your goal is to share a little and to do it authentically, without oversharing.

Keep It Rolling!

Once you get the ball rolling in a new conversation, you now have an opportunity to really stand out as someone memorable and likable.

Mastering these skills can make a big difference in your results. In fact, a Harvard study found that people with stronger conversational skills were found to be more likable. The most powerful predictor of your likability in conversation? The degree to which you ask follow-up questions.

So once the conversation is flowing with your conversation partner, the simple trick is to take the time to go deeper with follow-up questions, rather than bouncing from one subject to another. You will demonstrate that you are really listening and that you are interested enough to ask the next question.

Turning Conversations into Connections

With your newfound ability to spark in-depth conversations, it’s likely that a lot of details will emerge and be important for future communications, whether you realize it at the time it or not. You’ll need to develop a simple system to help you remember a few key details from your conversation to help you when it’s time to follow up or reconnect.

That’s where we come in! Trying out our Contact Mapping app is easy – you can join free for a month, get to know its features and see how it can impact your life!

INSPIRATION

Meet Superwoman


You may not have known this, but at Contact Mapping, we have a "leaderboard". We have a handful of metrics that we monitor to see how active our community is in using the system so we can learn and better serve you. One of those metrics we track is the number of notes created in the app per user. For that one, our community member Sharyle Parco is winning the race by a landslide.

Since signing up for Contact Mapping in July, she has created 6,776 notes on her contacts. That is almost 35 notes every single day since the day she installed the app.

Sharyle was someone who was proactive about organizing herself before finding Contact Mapping, but moving over to the app took her to a new level. As she said when we talked, "I couldn't do as many follow-ups or add 25 people a day if I didn't have the app...I literally use it every day, all day long."

Whether you are a machine like Sharyle or just getting started in networking, Contact Mapping can help you to play bigger. It allows you to build and maintain relationships at scale.

And if you truly are using relationships to positively impact those around you, the bigger you play means the more lives you can touch!


The Magic of Thinking Big

“Big people monopolize the listening. Small people monopolize the talking.”
-David Schwartz

In his 1959 classic book, "The Magic of Thinking Big," David Schwartz presses the value and importance of thinking bigger across every facet of life. 

The book is focused on every aspect of achieving great results, and yet a surprising amount of his focus is specifically on building strong relationships. Here are a few more of the best quotes:

“We are lifted to higher levels by those who know us as likable, personable individuals. Every friend you make lifts you just one notch higher. And being likeable makes you lighter to lift. Successful people follow a plan for liking people.”

“People do more for you when you make them feel important.”

 “Take the initiative in building friendships-leaders always do. The most important person present is the one person most active in introducing himself.”

“Make it a rule to let others know you appreciate what they do for you. Never, never let anyone feel he is taken for granted. A person whether he is garbage collector or company vice president, is important to you. Treating someone as second-class never gets you first-class results.”

“Practice calling people by their names. People like to be called by name. It gives everyone a boost to be addressed by name.”

“Don’t be a conversation hog. Listen, win friends, and learn.”

To be able to lead or perform at the highest level, relationships are essential. The most accomplished leaders in virtually any field will spend a greater proportion of their time invested in caring for relationships than those they lead, not a lesser one.

Building great relationship management skills and habits today is a foundation that will allow you to achieve more in the future. 

Quotes from The Magic of Thinking Big by Dr. David J. Schwartz
Hat tip to Dan Ramirez for his great compilation of quotes from the book.

Why We Can't Remember

Have you ever walked away from a conversation to realize just minutes later you don’t remember A SINGLE THING the person told you? You know, a classic case of “in one ear and out the other?”
 

Was her name Miranda or Mariah? Was she going on vacation to Panama or Portugal? Who did she say was having back surgery? Did we plan to follow-up next Monday or was it Thursday?
 

Honestly, my friend, you are not alone. Even the pros have to fight biological factors that prevent us from achieving near perfect memory—if we aren’t careful, our minds can easily distract us from the conversation at hand.
 

This week we are going to discover WHY we have trouble staying focused in conversations and what we can do about it!

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THE SCIENCE BEHIND LISTENING

In research from Florida State University and Michigan State University, scientists found that the average listener will only recall 25% of a conversation two months after it happened. Even worse, the average person forgets ½ to ⅓ of the conversation within the first 8 hours following.
 

So why are we such terrible listeners?
 

In a study published by Harvard Business Review, researchers asked executives in a manufacturing plant to analyze the role listening plays in the workplace.

After weeks of observation, all of the executives noticed something—all lines of communication they’d set up only outlined how information was to be disseminated. They realized they had never prioritized LISTENING in the company’s communication practices and found their employees weren’t well-trained to BE effective listeners.
 

One executive said, “It’s interesting to me that we have considered so many facets of communication in the company, but have inadvertently overlooked listening. I’ve about decided that it’s the most important link in the company’s communications, and it’s obviously also the weakest one.”
 

After looking at the data, researchers identified two areas that—if we aren’t aware of—prevent us from being the compassionate and charismatic communicators.
 

1. It’s biological: In short, we are wired to be bad listeners. Before you give up hope due to your genetic make-up, let’s take a deep breath.
 

The average person speaks at an average of 125 words/minute. BUT, the average person can process up to 250 spoken words/minute. So while you’re trying desperately to stay focused on the conversation at hand, your mind is busy filling in the empty processing gaps in your brain—What am I going to eat for dinner? I need to send that email. Did Jennifer respond about the report I sent?—you basically sabotage your attempt to listen.
 

2. We aren’t well-trained: In the academic setting, we learn most content through reading. While teachers still play a large role in the classroom setting, students are asked to consume the majority of content and coursework by reading (which, by the way, the average person can do at a rate of 225 words per minute).
 

In essence, we haven’t been trained well to BE good listeners and communicators—so let’s fix it!

Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.
— Stephen R. Covey

TIPS AND TRICKS

While we can’t slow down our aural processing speeds, we can train ourselves to develop better listening habits. By training our brain to fill in those empty mind gaps with thoughts pertaining to the conversation, we can become effective listeners.
 

  1. Anticipate the next sentence: Effective listeners attempt to stay ahead of the speaker—anticipating next words or sentences keeps the brain engaged even when the conversation lulls.

  2. Inspect the evidence: Is what you’re hearing true? How does it compare to your own experience or knowledge? What questions do you have based on what you’re hearing?

  3. Summarize the speech: Periodically throughout the conversation, effective listeners create a mental summary of what they’ve heard so far. And, when appropriate, even summarize back to the person vocally— “So if I’m hearing you correctly…”

  4. Read the clues: Non-verbal communication is equally as important as the words someone is speaking. An effective listener fills their mind gaps by taking in ALL of the communication clues—not just the verbal ones.

  5. WRITE IT DOWN: While these tools are extremely effective to listen well DURING the conversation, nothing has been found to help RETAIN the information more effectively than WRITING notes following a conversation.

This is where Contact Mapping can change the way you listen and communicate. Once you’ve employed effective listening techniques during the conversation, take a minute and record them in your Contact Mapping app and you’ll never be left thinking “What did we talk about?!” ever again.

What does that look like? Here's an example from the app 👇

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NOW LISTEN UP!!!

Speaking of listening (see what I did there? 😉), we have been hard at work putting together a POWERFUL training course for you with one of the world's best teacher's on the art and science of listening, John Milton Fogg. We have early bird pricing just for you!

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Connection is a Core Human Need- And We Need to be Better at It

When you hear the word “connection,” what is the first thing that comes to mind? Do you envision the kind of close connection you have with close friends and family? Or perhaps a connection that opens up new business opportunities? Or do you think of your Wi-Fi? For most people, it is a beautiful world full of positive implications. When we say we feel connected with a person, a community, or an event, we are experiencing oneness in the best possible way. It’s impossible to experience a sense of belonging without feeling connected. This experience is something us humans need to live a happy and fulfilled life.

In today’s state of affairs in the world, where globalization and digitalization are making everything more accessible, we are, ironically, connecting less than ever. Most of our communication is superficial, and expressing authentic feelings to others to feel connected as a result is a rarity. Here’s why the connection is a core human need, and how we can become better at it:

The Importance of Connection

Feeling a connection is a core human need, but many are terrible at it. A real, genuine human relationship has the power to heal the traumas of everyday disingenuous, loneliness, and isolation. It is the experience of “oneness” by having shared experiences, relatable feelings, and other similar ideas. It’s something we naturally gravitate towards and seek out, being intensely social beings. In the process of restoring a connection with others, we realize that we’re actually creating a connection with ourselves. By being seen and loved for who we are, how we think, and what we feel, we learn it’s okay to be as we are. According to Psychology Today, people who don’t experience human connection are more likely to suffer from depression and various other ailments, of both body and mind.

It doesn’t seem like something anyone would willingly put themselves through, but people do. One of the main reasons for that is fear. Most people believe a connection is something they have to earn by being “good enough”. However, in reality its something developed by being “willing enough.”  To connect to another human, we need to show them a part of our inner soul, and that is often difficult for many to exhibit such vulnerability.

Hyperconnectivity and Its Effects

Another aspect affecting the lack of meaningful connections is hyperconnectivity through digital media and social networks. That isn’t to say that social media is wrong — but your experience will be directly influenced by how you use them.

Social media provides us with an opportunity to make our lives look a bit more glamorous and polished, which removes the authenticity that is so essential to forming a human connection. However, those who mistake connection for attention on social media will have a harder time warding off depression, envy, and other negative feelings that might appear as a result of hyperconnectivity. Connection is so important, but it is so often overlooked and misunderstood, as seen with social media. There are few resources available to teach people how to foster real connection in their lives. For meaning to be cultivated through relationships and connections, understanding what it is, learning how to connect with others authentically, and focusing on giving connection- not receiving it.

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Forming Authentic Connections

When it comes to creating an authentic connection, location is not as important as recognizing who is trying to connect with you. At the same time, to establish a relationship, you have to be prepared to reach out as well, and practice talking to someone.

Often this simple act of conversing, listening to the other person and offering something back is what leads to the forging of an affiliation. It is simply our willingness to show up as we are, and our trust that we will be taken care of. The best part about it is that the other person will remember you as someone that they were able to share a genuine moment. Authentic connections are as rewarding as they are difficult to obtain sometimes, but the effort is indeed worth it. It is our discernment to give our time and energy to those who respect and cherish it back.

And, if after a while, you meet the same person again, you can easily re-establish a connection with them through Contact Mapping. Trying out our Contact Mapping app is easy – you can join free for a month and enjoy a different way of making connections.

Am I Boring You?

Can you recall the most painfully boring conversation you’ve been a part of?

Was it with a telemarketer who rambled for 10 minutes straight before you could even interject a simple “Sorry, I’m not interested.”

Was it with a colleague who spoke non-stop about his new hobby—extreme ironing?

Or was it with a neighbor who chatted incessantly about his mowing schedule while you tried desperately to sneak back inside your house?

On the contrary, I’m sure you can recall FANTASTIC conversations—ones with your significant other in the early stages of dating, a conversation with a teacher or boss that encouraged you, or a conversation you were still thinking about days or weeks later.

study in Britain found that people have an average of 27 conversations every day and 43% of those conversations were deemed pointless.

So how do we have more meaningful conversations? And what can you do to become a captivating conversationalist?

Keep reading to find out!

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“A good conversation is like a mini skirt; short enough to retain interest but long enough to cover the subject.”
— Celeste Headlee

TIPS AND TRICKS

Last week we shared the questions you should be asking during a conversation. But this week, we are going to dive into six habits you should cultivate to achieve conversational greatness.

Celeste Headlee, host of Georgia’s Public Broadcasting, wrote a book called We Need to Talk: How to Have Conversations That Matter, after her wildly popular TED talk had over 10 million views.

In the TED Talk, Headlee shares 10 tips for better conversations, but for our purposes, we’re going to hone in on 6 of them.


Here are 6 Tips For Better Conversations:

  1. LISTEN MORE, TALK LESS: This is obvious—especially when you remember the most boring conversations you’ve been a part of. In each of those instances, YOU probably weren’t doing much talking. We MUST be better listeners if we want to be incredible conversationalists.
     

  2. DON’T INTERJECT YOUR EXPERIENCES: When someone is sharing a story—whether uplifting or tragic—don’t make it about you. When we take someone’s story and use it to shine the spotlight back on ourselves, it detracts from making a meaningful connection.
     

  3. DON’T BE A KNOW-IT-ALL: Bill Nye once said, “Everyone you ever meet will know something that you don’t.” If you aren’t sure about something, say so. And while you’re at it, be enthusiastically prepared to learn something new from each encounter.
     

  4. READ...A LOT: Mark Levy, author of Accidental Genius: Using Writing to Generate Your Best Ideas, Insight and Content, said expert conversationalists, “seed a conversation with jolts.” He explains, “If you’re talking about, say, workplace productivity, it’s fine to talk about Pickett’s Charge or black holes or an idea from an Elizabeth Gilbert book that, in some way, relates to workplace productivity. Bringing in ideas from other domains keeps people awake and interested, and it’s actually how paradigm shifts are born.“
     

  5. READ THE ROOM: Listen, not only with your ears, but also with your eyes. Non-verbal cues are a telling way to determine if your conversation is on the right track. If someone is disengaged, change the topic. If they are responding positively, keep the train going!
     

  6. DON’T SWEAT THE DETAILS: You know when you’re in the middle of storytelling and you can’t recall the exact name or date or details you think are vital for the story?

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Details are more important to remember than to recite. If you forget a detail when sharing, don't let it stop you in your tracks. In her TED Talk, Headlee says, “What they care about is you. They care about what you’re like, what you have in common. So forget the details. Leave them out.”

However, if someone does take the time to highlight key details in THEIR storytelling, make note! This is a great opportunity to map those details in your Contact Mapping app and bring them out during your next conversation.

By cultivating these 6 habits, you’ll be well on your way to expert conversationalist status!

Keep track of your meaningful conversations. 

The Secret to Asking Better Questions

Life is all about relationships—personal relationships, romantic relationships, business relationships, you name it!

Here at Contact Mapping we are relationship enthusiasts. Relationships spark joy for us which means they are here to stay (unlike my college Calculus textbook that sparks NO JOY and can undoubtedly get thrown to the curb)!
We want our entire community to find joy in building relationships too.

Have you ever seen someone make a meaningful connection with a new prospect in minutes? You know, the kind of person who's "never met a stranger" and always makes a killer first impression. 

Meanwhile, you run through your same old script time and time again, only to leave with a sympathetic business card.

This week we’re shaking up your box of go-to questions. You’re about to learn how to shift your language in a way to build meaningful connections faster than Usain Bolt runs a 100m dash.

Before you have any more questions, let’s take a look at the questions you should be asking.

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THE SCIENCE BEHIND OUR QUESTIONS

In 1997 Dr. Aron set out to see if it was possible to help people build a relationship faster than normal. He set up two groups—one where strangers were given a list of small-talk questions and the other where participants were given a list of deeper, more probing questions.

He found that the participants who asked the deeper, more probing questions built stronger relationships in nearly half the time. (Even one set of participants got married just 6 months after the study ended!)

So what types of questions SHOULD you be asking? Keep reading to find out!

A prudent question is one-half of wisdom.
— Francis Bacon

TIPS AND TRICKS

In Dr. Aron’s study, he wrote a series of questions that took people below the surface. Since we are all short on time, here’s a list of the questions you’re probably ALREADY asking with the questions you SHOULD be asking.

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By asking questions that dig deeper, dive further, and sift through the surface-level topics, you’ll be well on your way to building more meaningful relationships!

Once you’ve asked great questions, don’t let your incredible conversation go to waste. Map all of the important details in your Contact Mapping app and you’ll be well-prepared for a meaningful follow-up.

Keep track of your meaningful conversations. 


How to Flip Your Screen on FB Live

Going live on Facebook has become an essential marketing tool for anyone using the social media site reach a bigger audience and nurture relationships with their contacts and followers. However, there are a few tips and tricks you can use to broadcast effectively, without the annoying issues that could affect the quality of your live broadcast.

One issue that might appear when using your front-facing camera for a live broadcast has been driving users crazy. Fortunately, the fix for it is straightforward — all it takes is to know where to find the setting you need. Here’s how to flip your screen when you’re doing a Facebook live broadcast:

The Problem with Front-Facing Camera

Using a front-facing camera for Facebook live broadcasts is convenient, and an obvious choice for many users. It’s easy to ensure that your setup is right when you use it. Since you can see yourself while you’re broadcasting, you can keep track of your body language and react in real-time to comments.

However, if you have any text visible in the frame, you run into an issue.

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The front-facing camera naturally flips it into a mirror image, which is helpful when it comes to tracking your body language as you view yourself on screen. The problem is, any  text in the frame will appear with the letters facing the wrong way. It doesn’t allow the audience to see the text, and it presents a huge branding issue if you’re trying to display your logo.

Finding the Setting to Flip Your Screen

But fear not! The fix is easy, it’s just not the easiest setting to find. The other thing to bear in mind is that the fix isn’t permanent so you’ll have to do it for every single broadcast… Which means it’s possible you could forget and you will do it again.

First, start your Facebook Live as usual, pressing the “Live Video” icon at the top left of your home page. For business pages, press “Publish” from your Page. Then press “Live Video.”

Once you’re there, look for the wand icon on the screen. Usually, it’s in the bottom left corner, but depending on the device you’re broadcasting with, it might be elsewhere.

This is true if you're going live from a Page but more of the audience is likely going to be doing it from their personal profile. How do you think we should handle that? I'm partly inclined to skip over this part to avoid creating confusion on a step that anyone who has this problem should already know how to do.

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Press the wand and a toolbar with filters will come up. Underneath the filters, there’s a row of icons and one of them is what you’re looking for. In the bottom right corner, you’ll find a screwdriver and span icon.

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If you click on it, it will bring up the options for flipping the screen.

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The option you need is “Horizontal Flip” (The one on the left). It will flip your screen horizontally, so that logos and any other text will correctly appear to the viewer, making it easily readable for the audience (In truth, I just wanted you guys to see a close up of my amazing nose).

Voila! You are now all set to do your Facebook Live where your audience will easily be able to read any branding or script in the frame!

Shameless Plug

This neat little trick is undoubtedly of great use to anyone who frequently does Facebook Live broadcasts. It’s a handy tool to nurture your relationship with your followers and become better connected, but it isn’t the only way.

Our Contact Mapping app allows you to build your network by keeping track of everyone you meet, facilitating meaningful connections between people. If this sounds like something, you might need, join free for a month and experience all its benefits yourself.

Quality Versus Quantity of Outreach

Other than a mall kiosk, when was the last time a person just walked up to you and tried to sell you something? Not a place where you are there specifically for that service like a department store, but a genuine out of the blue sales attempt. Never. And why is that? Because it’s weird. So why should the internet be any different?

Who has gotten a LinkedIn request to connect only to have someone immediately try to sell them something? With millions of professional users worldwide, LinkedIn is the obvious place to be out there networking and even selling. However, its reputation also means that people will often be tempted to leap past the “let’s get to know each other phase” and immediately jump to start connecting with people — and not everyone will know how to do it right.

Then there is the other type of person showing almost no interest and taking no effort to make a meaningful introduction. How many people have been sent an invitation to connect with a lazy or generic greeting? Or been sent a request to connect with no greeting whatsoever? It has led to many less than favorable first impressions. Connecting with people randomly and sending sales pitches to every contact as soon as they accept the invitation aren’t good ways to impress anyone. Let’s have a look at some ways of improving your quality of outreach on LinkedIn and in person, as well as examples of what you shouldn’t do:

Remember There is a Human Behind the Profile

Many business people nowadays send connect requests on LinkedIn. They believe that incorporating a few obvious details to show you did your research will resonate. Some terrible examples of generic and uninspired outreach shared by Adrian Chenault include:

●       “It looks like we have some mutual connections, and I’m impressed with your accomplishments and background.”

●       “I took a look at your company, and I am very interested in learning more. You help people with their technology, and we help people with their business.”

●       “I saw your recent post, reviewed your profile, and thought it made sense to reach out to connect.”

As Adrian points out, these requests devoid of any personalization won’t get you anywhere close to developing a meaningful connection. Research your prospect and make an effort not to sound like a generic script.

Adopt a “Give First” Approach Without Expectation

Think about why you want to connect with someone on LinkedIn... the main reason is usually the value you can get out of it. But unless you tell your prospect what kind of value you can provide them in return, why should they bother connecting at all? And if they do give you the benefit of the doubt, will they get a cold sales pitch or real value?

According to Brian Pontarelli, being offered value on LinkedIn is rare: “LinkedIn has become a total disaster of cold selling. I’ve been trying to avoid it, but it is nearly impossible. Apparently, asking nicely not to be pitched doesn’t work.”

Jordan Ryan also has some feedback for those who keep sending cold pitches immediately after connecting: “In a world where there are so many tools to research, personalize, and automate outreach, lazy plug and chug your sales pitch won’t cut it. Either get with a quality process or get off the tracks, because you’re just wearing people out with your noise and making things harder for everyone else with quality to offer.”

Avoid being perceived as a noise-maker, always aim to give first, and only make the connections that can benefit both sides. While making noise can get you noticed, it won’t be for the right reasons.

Give Purpose to Your Connection

To make a meaningful connection with a contact, you have to invest time and effort. With so many options to conduct research, there is no excuse for a dull and impersonal pitch. There are no shortcuts when it comes to paying attention.

However, there is a shortcut to ensure that you can easily establish a foundation with everyone you meet through Contact Mapping. Trying out our Contact Mapping app is simple – you can join free for a month and enjoy a different way of making and maintaining connections.

The Value of Being Connected

How many times have you felt stuck on something, turned to the ever dependable Google search, but still found yourself at a dead end? When it comes to many of the most important things in life — career changes, family emergencies, vendor selection — the internet either comes up with no answers or too many to sift. In those moments, it’s not so much what you know as who you know.

Have you ever noticed that when you’re talking with someone successful, whether a friend or mentor, how they seem to offer introductions more frequently than they give advice? More often than not, the full value of being connected becomes clear to us only after we realize that if we just “knew a guy,” we have a path out of our difficult situation.

This is all the more important for those of us who rely on our personal networks to create value in our businesses, whether as a network marketer, a real estate professional, financial advisor, or a local business owner. Let’s have a closer look at what it means to be connected and why it’s so valuable in today’s business world:

Starting Conversations

Think about your daily activities — whether it’s grocery shopping, take public transportation, or grabbing something to eat in a restaurant. Within that span of time, how many people do you come within close proximity to, but start a conversation with none of them? The ability to start a conversation naturally and carry it further with ease is what distinguishes those great conversationalists who are the best connectors. Sometimes it seems like you either have to be a natural at it or forget about it, but starting conversations is a skill you can acquire and practice.

The key to successfully opening up conversations is to ask the right questions. But the key to successfully sustaining a conversation, other than being polite and respectful, is being prepared to listen. Natural networkers know that every connection can be valuable at some point, even if it may not be clear up front. You could be in different industries, with no overlap in your business activities — but this connection might still open some doors you need in the future.

Being the Person to Call

Building an extensive network of valuable connections will have another interesting effect: you’ll become that one person everyone thinks of when they are struggling to solve a problems. By making the right connections, your influence and the trust people have in you will grow, making you a valued resource. As the connector, you will be valuable to any organization you decide to work for since your ability to connect people to what they need will enable you to call in favors when you need them. Not only will this give you the opportunity to help others, but it also means people will being more opportunities to you.

Mapping Your Contacts

We’re living in an increasingly faster-paced world and often fall prey to disconnect in both our personal and business lives. Conversation with the goal of connecting with someone has almost become a lost art, lost in the struggle to appear successful and be perceived as an influencer.

When you’re building your network of contacts effectively, you’ll strive to listen, remember and take care of whoever you’re connecting with. By paying attention to what matters to them, you ensure that they will pay attention to what matters to you.

 

Being well-connected in this day and age has become somewhat of a lost art, despite the technologies that are available to us. Whenever you make the time to hear someone out and connect, log it into the Contact Mapping app and let it help you nurture that relationship. Join free for a month and witness its life-changing effects for yourself.