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Networking for Success: The 3 Phases of Small Talk
In my mind, small talk basically consists of 3 phases:
Phase 1: The Ice Breaker
So you attend a networking event… you make eye contact with someone you want to meet, you approach them and introduce yourself… now what?
Well having a few powerful, open-ended ice breaker questions should certainly do the trick. For example:
Now notice on these sample ice breaker questions I’ve repeated the person’s name. First off by doing this it will help burn that person’s name into my head so I don’t forget it. Secondly, people love the sound of their own name – so don’t be afraid to use it throughout your conversation.
Phase 2: Get To Know You Better
Depending on the results of the ice breaker questions you should by now be able to determine whether or not it makes sense to get to know this person better. If not, simply skip this phase and go into your graceful exit. But if you do see a synergy here, by all means try some of these again open-ended, getting to know you better questions:
Now you can use one, two, all of these questions, or more if the situation permits. However, be careful here not to dominate and monopolize someone’s time. If you’re at a networking event, there’s a good chance that they’re there to network and meet other people as well, so it may make sense to go to the graceful exit phase and encourage that you two get together in the near future.
Phase 3: Graceful Exit
It’s vastly important how you leave a conversation – as this is the last impression you make on that person. We’re not looking to create any animosity here by rudely blowing someone off. The key here is as this phase’s title states, is to exit gracefully.
A key difference between the types of questions or statements you make in this phase as opposed to the previous two phases is that now you shift to using close-ended ones. For example:
So now you're aware of and armed with some actual strategies for the 3 phases of small talk. The key now is to get in the game and practice, practice, practice and you too can see the results you would like for your business.
© 2006 Online Marketing Muscle -- All Rights Reserved.
About the Author: Online entrepreneur Dean Mercado, "The Motivational Marketer", is creator of the acclaimed 'Pumped Up Networking' system geared to explode your business through professional relationships. To learn more about it and to sign up for his FREE eZine the 'Marketing Minute' – a weekly multimedia eZine designed to give you a jolt of marketing wisdom in less than 5 minutes, visit www.OnlineMarketingMuscle.com.