Networking for Professionals in Zurich at TOPHOTELWORLDTOUR
At the TOPHOTELWORLDTOUR ZURICH last week around 66 people gathered to network. There was the well received format of speakers and round table discussions about the industry, brilliantly organised moving people from table to table so everyone got to meet everyone else. The event kept to good “Swiss” time organised by Kayley van der Velde Head of Global Events and Conferences and her team.
TOPHOTELWORLDTOUR recently announced its locations for 2018 offering more one day-long conferences offering delegates the chance to network with other leading industry professionals from all sectors of the hospitality industry, including design, supply, operations and development. The keynote speaker in Zurich was Will Kintish from the UK who only speaks and trains on the subject of effective and confident networking. His talk was ‘The Power of the Question’
He introduced his short talk by showing us a system he developed taking you from the invitation to an event through to meeting prospects and other business-related people for the purpose of building relationships.
Each arrow is self-explanatory except perhaps arrow 6- Ahaa Moments.
Will asked the audience “What would you like someone to say and what sort of person would you like to hear it from?”
In any conversation when we ask perceptive and insightful questions and listen carefully we should nearly always gain something useful from the interaction. I call it the “Ahaa” moment. It is that point in time when we have a sudden insight or realisation when the other person tells you something. It could be just one sentence so listen carefully!
He continued saying the obvious way to spot the ‘ahaa moment’ is asking the right questions in a sensitive manner. Try to ask most of your questions in the open manner using these words
…and watch peoples’ body language as you do. There are high and low reactors to your questions and by watching how others react you ascertain if they’re happy to discuss the topic in hand. Asking too many questions of a low reactor creates an interrogation, which is the last thing you want.
Will talked about the ice-breaker question which should be something relevant to the moment at the event. ‘Where have you travelled from?’ ‘What made you come to this event?’ ‘How have you found the conference so far?’ are 3 openers to get the conversation started.
Most conversation relate to small talk which is just fine when building relationships. Asking ‘What do you do when you’re not working?’ might find you have things in common and will often give you an answer to whether or not they have family. Will strongly recommends never to ask direct questions like ‘Are you married?’ or ‘Do you have children?’. Asking the wrong person on the wrong day can cause upset and embarrassment
When we attend business events, asking business questions is central to the reason for going. Sometimes you may spot that ‘ahaa moment’ but never go into selling mode. Will says we go networking to create a platform for doing business at a later stage. The only thing we sell is ourselves. Asking others about their business, their career their future plans is the key to good networking. Make sure you find out what their job role is and the size and scale of their business. ‘How many people work there?’ gives you a good indication
When you meet the founder of a business ascertain how they started. People who create something from nothing love that question but take care you don’t get bored if they spend the whole event telling you about it!
One question for someone’s future should be ‘So where do you see your business / career/ going in the next couple of years?’
If you do spot a potential opportunity don’t sell. Ask more questions and qualify if you think it is worth continuing the conversation outside the event. Suggest you exchange business cards and ask if you can call them to ‘continue the conversation’ later that week or at a pre-arranged time
When you have created rapport and believe your service or product might add value to a prospect’s business then often the other person will say yes.
Will finished his talk by quoting from Dale Carnegie, author of the best-selling book “How to win friends and influence people”
Let the other person do most of the talking. Be a good listener and encourage others to talk about themselves
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