Too often, a conversation that could be lucrative results in sheer small talk instead of something productive. Whether you’ve run into someone at a conference or have scheduled a coffee catch up, you can use specific tactics to have a more meaningful conversation that can turn chit-chat into career opportunities. Here are a few ways to go about it:
Advanced planning makes a differenceWhile qualifications and experiences are key requisites when applying for jobs, studies have shown that employers recruit candidates they have a spark and connection with.
Knowing this, it’s important that you find some point of personal connection so as to boost your likability during a casual meeting, especially if it's a first time meeting. Do some research to find something to build – read articles they’ve written, ask peers in you network if they have any insight on the person’s interests and have a look at the person’s social media accounts to get an idea of what they talk about. With the information you gather, you’ll know which topics to introduce or avoid, and the person you’re meeting will be more open to talking with you in-depth
Ask quality questions to show you are engaged Expressing interest in and curiosity for what the other person is telling you is one of the best ways to show engagement. Asking a thoughtful question helps you stand out – it not only showcases your knowledge and understanding on the subject, but will also help you glean additional insight into their analytical thought.
One of the best ways to show engagement is by expressing a natural curiosity for what the other person is telling you. Don’t be afraid to pose open-ended questions that lead the flow of the conversation and consider how you might be able to add value or even challenge an assumption to pique interest.
Know when to leave Instead of putting everything on the table immediately, always leave the conversation with the other person wanting more. It turns out that knowing when to end a discussion directly impacts results. No matter how well the conversation is going, excuse yourself before you’ve run out of topics to discuss, so that the other party is interested in hearing more from you. This increases the odds of picking up the conversation in a second meet up or over email, which can both strengthen the relationship and lead to more meaningful and bigger discussions.