This article is based on the bestseller: "The Networking Book", by Simone Andersen.
One aspect of becoming an excellent networker is to create a good atmosphere everywhere you go. Your competence isn’t enough to build up a broad and steady network, it can mean a start, but in the end it will be the atmosphere that gets you right to the cream of networking.
In a study by MarketWatch found that more than 85 percent of what we succeed at results from the ability to create a good atmosphere.
What we tend to value highly is professional competence and expertise, yet this counts for only 15 percent. This is not to say that we should assign professional competence less than 100 percent value in future, but it means that while starting to create good new relationships with others we need to pay attention to prioritizing good atmosphere.
How to create a good atmosphere
When we contact or talk to other people professionally or in networks, we often focus heavily on getting our own message heard.
For some years we have been told we should memorize an elevator speech, and this can certainly be worthwhile – an elevator speech can clarify our own ideas about our aims for our business life or our company, and can thereby create focus. But giving an elevator speech or talking a lot about yourself and your services will not do that much towards creating a good atmosphere.
Good atmosphere: listening, accepting and understanding
Try to think of an occasion where you felt comfortable in a one-to-one meeting. Were you with someone who was talking a lot about himself, who was selling, and who wasn’t paying attention to what you said? Surely not. When we feel comfortable, it is often because someone is listening to us, someone who asks about what we have said, someone who is positive about us, someone who understands us the way we want to be understood.
Good atmosphere comes through accepting and understanding the person you are talking to, and not least through an attitude which lets him know that you understand him.
The art is to make other people feel important and special.
For example, think of the retired talk show host Oprah Winfrey. She knows how to create a good atmosphere. She shows openness, empathy, intimacy, and, not least, she is a good listener.