Provide them an opportunity to be heard.
Most people don’t have an audience applauding and giving them support. How can you provide that kind of support and uplift someone? Give them time to be heard. Listen to them – either set up telephone time or coffee time but give them your undivided attention.
1. Listen to how you can help
It’s called active listening and it’s not parroting back what someone said to you – it is paraphrasing and making sure you understood.
Listen, first for content and meaning, and then listen even more intently for feeling and emotion. [tweet this]
Then, check in to see if you’ve gotten it right and listen to the feedback. Did you get it right? Where did you miss?
If you’re attending a networking function, take someone with you. It could be a client, a co-worker or a connection, go with this in mind:
Who do they need to connect with?
It could be a provider (maybe they need a dentist for their children? Or a vet for their pet?). It could be they need a mentor for a problem they are encountering (time management, speaking skills, leadership tips). Maybe they need a contact for their business – prospect or supplier? Or, perhaps they need a link, a connector, to a service, product, mentor, client or prospective employer that they would like to connect with.
Go to an event with that in mind. It won’t be about who you can meet. It will about working the room and connecting with people to help someone in particular. In the process, you will grow and develop your networking, listening skill and your own contact base.
2. Get to know them
What is of interest to them? What is their greatest challenge? Often times, sometimes the most caring thing you can ask someone is what’s on your mind and concerning you/or troubling you and then listen.
One of the best questions a mentor taught me to ask someone, especially when they seem aloof or distracted is, “before we saw each other something was on your mind and after we part it will be the first thing on your mind – is there something I can do to help you with that thought , challenge or concern.”