Last week I attended a networking event and was delighted not to know the other attendees at my assigned table.  This reaction may surprise you however my perspective is that the fewer people I already know, the greater the opportunity to form new relationships.

Here are my two observations: several people took a seat at the table without even introducing themselves, which struck me as unusual since we were all there to get to know one other.  When the person seated next to me neglected to initiate an introduction, I took the lead by offering my name and asking hers.  She then said “What do you do?”  Naturally I expected this and was well-prepared with my compelling and succinct 30-second commercial. When I was done, the response I received was “Oh that’s nice.”  That gave me pause to wonder if that was the best she had to offer or if she lacked the communication skills to respond in a different manner.

You may be asking yourself what’s the problem with saying “Oh that’s nice”? The answer is not only is it a boring response but it also shows lack of interest and closes down the conversation process.  As far as the solution, it’s a matter of asking follow-up questions to open up the conversation.  Examples include: what types of clients seek out your services, how do you benefit those who hire you, or tell me more about how you work with your clients to solve their challenges.

Learning how to initiate, expand and wrap up conversations is an essential business communication skill.  It makes a huge difference in how you come across to others and signals them about your level of interest in getting to know them.  This is really the essence of networking and relationship building at any level.

Conversational turn-taking is vitally important in all aspects of our lives but particularly in the business world.  If you think you’d like to strengthen your skills in this area or have an employee or colleague who could benefit, please contact me so we can give you a head start in how to avoid saying “Oh that’s nice.”


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