As well as being part of a very successful road safety campaign, the advice 'STOP...LOOK...LISTEN' is worth bearing in mind when interacting with your network.
Whether it's enthusiasm for what we do, too much time focusing on our own objectives or simple nerves, too many people ramble on when networking instead of allowing space to other people in the conversation. Sometimes this will just annoy or alienate other people, at other times you may actually lose out on potential business or support.
Let me give you an example.
I recently met with someone in my network who wanted to tell me about their new venture and seek support for it. As they explained what they were doing and what they were looking for, I recognised a possible introduction I could make for them.
Before offering the connection I needed to clarify something. I asked a question that needed a simple, two word, answer. My contact gave me that two word answer...and then carried on talking! She bulldozed straight past the relevant information, veered off the subject entirely and carried on for at least two more minutes!
I must admit that I was sorely tempted to not both making the introduction but I did go back to the idea. Many people wouldn't.
When you are networking with people, reign in your enthusiasm sometimes and follow the Green Cross Code.
Pause for breath and allow your conversation partners to digest what you have said, ask you questions, offer advice or seek clarification.
Take a moment to consider the people around you. Is what you are sharing relevant, or of interest, to them? Have they understood you? Do they have something they can add or offer at this stage?
Don't simply be content with sharing your information. Seek feedback, ask for other people's opinions and, most importantly, take those opinions on board. And be aware of people who are looking for the opportunity to help you but struggling to get a word in edgeways!