After what felt like a super long week filled with business meetings, studies, research papers and networking, I was finally able to relax a little late last night and catch up on some reading.
While browsing for interesting and relevant articles about networking I came across this piece in Entrepreneur. Small talk; probably my biggest weakness when it comes to business development. I like to think I’m easy to get along with, friendly, and approachable, but when it comes to knowing I have to chat someone up in hopes of creating a business relationship it’s a struggle. It always feels very forced and spurious. As a matter of fact, I’ve found my most successful business ventures have been with friends or former colleagues; people I have an existing connection with.
Much of my recent business expansion has been a matter of me investing the time required to generate pertinent training modules for individuals and corporations. Of course this depends upon extensive research into organizational weaknesses and types of certifications individuals in particular departments are interested in obtaining. Oddly enough, this is the easy part. My next step is to reach out to companies I have existing business relationships with and get them on board with corporate training. Seems simple enough until you realize while you’re suggesting ways to improve by utilizing targeted training, they’re hearing, “Your company is failing”. This is where that small talk becomes an important tool — and where I feel intimidated.
Obviously creating a more personal connection with a potential client makes business feel less formal. It almost feels like a positive interaction between two good friends. But getting there relies heavily on that small talk… that ice breaker.
So, if you find yourself in a position to make small talk, especially in a business setting, you might also find this article rather interesting. It’s simple, an easy read, and makes networking feel a bit less dreadful to me.