Network like an H.R. Professional

My neighbor, Kathy, ran Human Resources for a large fragrance company. When I first got to know Kathy, I would leave our conversation thinking how much fun she was. But it soon dawned on me that I was enjoying myself because we talked entirely about ME the entire time. No wonder I had fun.

Kathy would become involved in my stories by asking questions and making an occasional comment, but always turned the conversation back to me. I began to realize that she was displaying a skill she honed as an H.R. executive. Kathy was a pro at learning about someone while making them feel comfortable. And of course, when I caught on and attempted to make our discussions more balanced and less me-centric, I found she was witty, interesting and a great conversationalist.

We should all adopt Kathy’s method of engaging people when we network. Prompting others to talk about themselves is the easiest way of getting them to like you. It also allows you to become comfortable with your colleague before the eventual need to be clever or charming yourself.

In the early 1930’s, Dale Carnegie, a writer and lecturer on corporate training and sales, wrote a book entitled: How to Win Friends and Influence People. The book has sold 15 million copies and is still popular today. The following are his six principles for making people like you.

1. Become genuinely interested in other people.
2. Smile.
3. Remember that a person’s name is, to that person, the sweetest sound in any language.
4. Be a good listener. Encourage others to talk about themselves.
5. Talk in terms of the other person’s interest.
6. Make the other person feel important – and do it sincerely.

Looks like my friend Kathy could have written the book.