How to have better conversations at networking gigs
ICON members are regularly told we need to network to build our careers, but how can we get past the boring, self-serving ‘Hi I’m Person 1, I work at X’ exchange?
Networking expert Francesca Meldrum, Founder of Ideas Fight Club, presented on this issue at our recent Melbourne Forum. In a fun, interactive session she pointed out that as soon as someone starts saying who they are and where they work, we immediately start sizing them up and comparing them to ourselves. “Are they cooler than me?” we ask.
To lead people towards more authentic interactions that lead to genuine connections, Meldrum set up a range of future scenarios. Participants had to wear a coloured sticker that correlated to what they believed that most likely five years from now, from possibilities including:
“Members were able to connect on a much deeper level and participants commented on how the conversations felt much more real and less transactional – no longer just, “what can I gain from this conversation?”
She then asked people to introduce themselves either based on matching or opposing coloured dots. People could discuss anything except their names and where they worked.
The room erupted in chatter and everyone looked like they were genuinely enjoying themselves talking to strangers. Members were able to connect on a much deeper level and participants commented on how the conversations felt much more real and less transactional – no longer just, “what can I gain from this conversation?”.
This session was a nice reminder of the importance of forming genuine connections within our industry and finding commonalities with others outside it. ICON is known and loved for the way it brings people together, so this session was a great chance to focus on that and make new friends.