In the first couple of installments in this series, I talked about Doing Your Reconnaissance and Understanding What You Want. If you missed either of those Dispatches, please take the time to read them over and further improve your Interpersonal Communication skills.
Cultivate the Art of Listening
Finally, we come to the piece de resistance. To be genuinely listened to is such a striking experience if for no other reason than the fact that it is remarkably rare. The anxiety around interpersonal networking is such that instead of listening, many spend the entire time thinking about what they are going to say next. When your mind is processing your response instead of listening, your response will always be inauthentic. Thinking about what we are going to say in response is human nature and as such, you must make war against this tendency if you are going to master the art of listening.
I recommend that you make an intentional effort to pause for 2 to 3 seconds before offering your reply. This might seem awkward at first and you would do well to practice it at home or another safe environment. The brief moment in time will allow you to process what has been said and craft a response that shows you actually listened. This will also help you when it comes time to write down your notes after the meeting. Moreover, listening more than you talk will make your next encounter with this individual more fruitful. At the end of the day, I rarely walk into a networking meeting or face to face encounter with what I want to communicate as my top priority. Rather, I walk into the encounter concerned about what I want to learn about those around me. Accomplishing that requires listening at a high level.
Networking and Interpersonal Communication is not going anywhere anytime soon. So, you might as well come to terms with that, however you must. However, it does not have to be such a dreadful experience. Arrange for the reconnaissance and you will not walk into the event blind. Understand why you are there so that you can speak and take action with intention. Cultivate the art of listening and you will simply be a better human being all around. The interpersonal connections and business-to-business relationships you develop as a result are priceless. If you are not cultivating such relationships, then you can assume that your competition is stepping into that space in your absence. Interpersonal experience is still the king of the professional jungle and I say, long live the king.
If you are interested in reaching out for such an experience feel free to contact me through my website, or stalk me on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Stay Busy—Stay Connected!