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Networking 101: Talk about your passion

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in Career Management,Workplace Communication

Passion is what draws other people to you, keeps them engaged and makes them eager to be added to your network. The more you can talk about your job with gusto, the more luck you’ll have in networking or social situations, says business networking expert Liz Lynch (www.Networking Excellence.com).

How to let your passion shine:

Start with a dose of self-awareness when you’re talking to someone. Are you dominating the conversation? Does the person sound interested in what you’re saying? Is she asking you questions to learn more, or giving one-word answers to be polite?

Practice your 30-second pitch. Know how to describe your work in just a few seconds. Example: Lynne Small, an executive assistant at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina, tells people, “Part of my job is making sure my boss has a good day.”

Strut your job knowledge. Help someone else work through an on-the-job challenge by sharing stories or know-how. “Walk them through an example that you’ve faced and get them thinking about how to move forward and get unstuck,” advises Lynch.

Never pretend to know or do something that you don’t know, “because you’ll probably get caught and it’ll be difficult, if not impossible, to repair your credibility,” says Lynch.

Put on your self-confidence like a suit of armor. When you’re confident about who you are and the work you do, you can talk with just the right passion. You’ll answer questions without sounding anxious, and you’ll let the other person control the pace of the conversation.

Tip: Even if you don’t feel confident, focus on keeping your words simple and positive. Sometimes when we’re eager or anxious, we give more information than we need to. “And that’s uncomfortable for everyone,” says Lynch.

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