Social Networking and the Art of Not Talking Too Much

It is easy to feel intimidated when we find ourselves in a HNW circle and realize we don’t know anybody. One of the downsides is talking too much. We want to learn as much as we can in a limited amount of time, while not coming across as tiresome. How can you do it?

You Want People to Know Three Things About You

People have short attention spans today. They are getting even shorter. When you meet people, you want to get three points across. The first two are immediate, the last is done over time at subsequent events. These three points align well with the “elevator speech” concept.

  1. Who you are. Obviously, you have a name. In social settings you start by introducing yourself. This part seems pretty simple. You get your name out there.

  2. What you do. Now you are introducing your professional role. When you are in the company of HNW individuals, their identity id usually aligned to their job or what they do in the community. You will probably also include your firm’s name because that adds to your prestige.

Those two points take up relatively little time. Later on in the relationship you will want to add a third point, although that can be brought forward, so long as it doesn’t look like you are pushing too hard.

  1. Why you are good. This contributes to why they want to know you or why you add a benefit to the relationship. This is often shared later in the relationship.

Suppose you wanted to get all three points across at one time. When you want to score highly on Internet searches, you make use of keywords. Here is an example of how this might come across.

“My name is (yours). I am an officer at (firm). I work with a small group of business owners and families in the (city) area.”

In twenty words, you have delivered a lot of information. Lets look at some keywords:

  • Officer at (firm). If you have a title like Vice President, that is an officer title. That is a title of respect. Banks have officers. The military has officers. Members of the police are officers. We are trained from a young age to respect officers.

  • Small group. That one is easy. Small implies exclusivity.

  • Business owners. In most communities, the wealth is concentrated in the hands of people who own the local businesses. Business owners have many needs. Beyond “stocks and bonds” they need retirement plans, insurance and lending. If you are of interest to business owners, you must be offering more than stocks and bonds.

  • And families. Many local businesses are family owned. Virtually everyone has a family. Working with families communicates you respect family values. The listener can identify with you.

  • In the (city) area. This establishes your local focus. HNW individuals in the community are often boosters of the local economy. The unspoken message is the money you are paid in fees is recycled back into the local community when you personally visit the dry cleaner, get your hair cut or buy paint at the hardware store.

You Want People to Tell You Three Things About Themselves

You “told your story” in a few words without hogging the stage. You want to learn three things about everyone you meet:

  1. Who they are. It would be difficult to hold a conversation if they did not tell their name! How they share it gives you clues concerning informality. “I’ James Smith, but please call me Jim.”

  2. Where they work. You know the names of many local firms. You know if they are big or small. You also know what’s said about the firm in the community. Are they doing well or doing poorly. Maybe they work for the local government.

  3. What they do. There are many roles at every firm, unless they are a one person operation, an at home business like consulting. When they explain their role at the firm, you can tell if they own the firm or are an employee. You have a rough idea how much different professions pay. You might ask how long they have been there.

Without probing too deeply you have learned basic information about the person you just met. This can lead to future conversations and reasons to get in touch in the future. You did not come across as too curious or lining them up for future business. This should help people get comfortable with you.

Related: Turbocharging Networking: Who Do You Need to Know