Wednesday, December 22, 2010

How do you "Break the Ice" and move on?

Going to an event, entering that room of dark suited circles of strangers unnerves you.  This is a statement.  I know because thousands of delegates and audience members tell me so.  In fact, I promise you over 98% are somewhere between uncomfortable, down the continuum through to downright petrified.  If you feel like this you will find…you are normal.  I am abnormal because I love it.  Here’s ideas to help you.

Get there early so you won’t be facing large groups.
If hosts are present they will do their job and introduce you to others.
Armed with the fact that most people feel the same, if you see someone standing on their own make the first move.  Approach them slowly.  Stop fleetingly to ask if you may join them and then introduce yourself.  The reason you have not done it before is because of your fear of rejection.  Right?  Yes, right, but don’t worry you won’t be rejected, in fact, you will be welcomed with open arms and this person will be greatly relieved.  You would, if someone approached you.  Ask questions like, ‘where have you come from?’, ‘how are you associated with the PSA?’   Think of the event you are at and think of the numerous things you will have in common with this “stranger”.
 Try using your first name only; they normally follow suit and give their Christian name. Listen hard then use their name to build rapport.  Who knows, this stranger could be your next big client!

When it’s time to move on, suggest they accompany you to the bar, the food table or to someone you need to talk to. You are showing courtesy and respect by offering them an option. No dumping here! But don’t worry: they probably want to move on as much as you so they normally decline your offer and off you both go. If they do come with you the chances are you or your new partner will bump into an existing contact and the whole dynamics start all over again.
If you are stuck with a nervous person who knows no-one, simply say, ‘let’s go and meet some other people,’ and then look for an open twosome or trio and ask to join. You will spice up this new cocktail of people and you have successfully “parked” your friend on others.
Never approach two people standing face to face or a threesome standing in a triangle. Their body language clearly communicates they don’t want interrupting as they are having a private, confidential or even intimate conversation. You will not be welcomed…at least, not at that moment!

Will Kintish a leading UK authority on networking can be contacted on 0161 773 3727 or via

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Voices in our heads – Part 2

The majority of people have negative conversations simply because we all have two key fears in our lives; fear of rejection and the fear of failure. Fear is a made-up word – it’s really an acronym F.E.A.R. It represents the phrase ‘false expectations appearing real’. These fears do represent false expectations as most people who attend business events are friendly, personable and welcoming. When have you been rejected at a business event? After all every one is there to spot opportunities, build or reinforce relationships. Yes, there will be a tiny proportion of rude people; those who decide you’re not important enough and start looking around the room for ‘more significant people than you.’ Don’t let this small minority get to you. They’re not worth giving a second thought to. You don’t want to be building relationships with these rude ignorant people anyway, so excuse yourself and go and find the ‘nice’ people who deserve your company.

When you walk into a room it’s time to think:

·         “I’m a nice person who is going to be accepted into this room.”
·         “I’m as good as anyone else here.”
·         “I’m a generous person with a giving spirit. The greatest thing I can give tonight is my time and full attention when talking to others. They will like me and respect me for that.”
·         “Yes, I am a little nervous, but so are most other people.”
·         “I’m going to be friendly, courteous and polite; that way people will like me quickly.”
·         “I’m going to smile, give good eye contact, shake hands and aim to remember peoples’ names. This will help me create a good first impression.”
·         “When I pretend to act like a host, my confidence is going to build. For example, I’m going to talk to people who I see standing on their own and introduce them to others when it’s time to move on.”
·         “It’s a business event so everyone is here to meet new contacts – including me.”
·         “I’m going to spend more time being interested by asking questions rather than talking too much about myself.”
·         “I’m going to look positively for potential opportunities and follow them up.”
·         “If at the end of the day all else fails, I’m just going to have to fake it ‘til I make it!”
·         “I’m going to have a good time!”

But why should you fail? Fail at what exactly? It’s not an examination or you are the defendant in a trial being judged. It’s just a group of people, most of whom will be polite, friendly and welcoming. Focus on them and enjoy your networking.

Monday, October 25, 2010

You're a painkiller

“I love what I do but don’t like the marketing and selling”

When you are in the advice-giving business, particularly professionals and experts in your field, do you feel exactly like the headline? You spend your formative years in education, academia, gaining professional qualifications and learning on the job. Then after time you realise to progress, or go it alone, you have to start selling, marketing and promotion- the uncomfortable bit of the job.

Change of mindset
You will not be good at this; you will find it unnerving and awkward, dare I suggest. It’s not in your DNA. Had it been, you probably wouldn’t have chosen the career you have.
Stop thinking sell; think help. You are an expert who provides advice which adds value to your client. You are a problem-solver and painkiller. When I ask people what they get paid for I hear, ‘My time or my expertise or the advice I am giving.’ Yes that’s true but in the eyes of the client you are being paid for a problem they can’t solve for themselves. No-one goes to the doctor, the dentist, the accountant or the lawyer unless they have a complication or difficulty. So, I reiterate, you must forget selling if you’re going to become more proactive. Get out there networking and start to look for people who have a pain; you’re there to kill it.

What to do at business events
What you should never do is try to sell your company, it’s services or products; the only thing to promote is yourself and the nice person you are. Networking is simply building relationships; we have all been doing it since around the age of 2.
The three key steps to building new relationships are
1. Get to know more people by attending more events.
2. Start to get them to like you and build rapport and affinity
3. Continue past step 2 and build trust to create long-term meaning sustainable relationships
I believe the reason the word networking attracts such negative views is because many people simply don’t know how to do it effectively and more importantly politely and ethically. This can result in rude and discourteous behaviour including people being too pushy. You occasionally find people who realise you’re not the person useful to them they begin to look around the room or over your shoulder. They appear infrequently and are a small minority but move on quickly from these ignorant people.
Fear of failure
When you are giving your expert advice you are in command and control and with help from colleagues you rarely fail. But attending that business event often knowing no-one and getting involved in conversations taking you out of your comfort zone there will be the possibility of failure crossing your mind.

You won’t fail when you spend time asking good questions, listening carefully and asking the other person to explain or describe more when you don’t understand. You’re looking for those pain-killing opportunities which will only occur by listening. Having spotted a chance or prospect, to avoid wasting your time ensure you follow up in a professional manner. When you focus on the other person and show interest people start to like you quickly. You need to be genuinely interested and when the conversation comes to an end move on in a polite manner.
You only fail when you don’t turn up, you do too much talking, you are impolite or, in my view worst of all, don’t follow up when you think you could move the relationship to it’s next stage. When you ask permission to contact someone after an event and they say ‘yes’, no-one can accuse you of pestering or annoying them.
Remember most people don’t follow up for fear of rejection. Don’t take it personally; they’re not rejecting you just the offer of your help.

The author of this article is Will Kintish, leading UK authority on effective and confident networking both offline and online. If you’d like Will to speak at your conference or training workshops, call him on 0161 773 3727. Visit and for further free and valuable information on all aspects of networking.