Author, “How to Work a Room”
Senior Financial Writer, Capital Group
Give a financial advisor a calculator — or spreadsheet — and they’ll feel right at home. But hand them a cocktail and toss them in a party with strangers, and some degree of uncertainty might set in.
It’s natural, but doesn’t have to be that way. Some simple techniques can help advisors — even those who identify as introverts — turn any meeting into an opportunity to make new connections, says Susan RoAne, author of “How to Work a Room®” and a former schoolteacher in Northern California in an interview with Capital Group®. RoAne gives presentations to advisors and companies on how to improve socializing skills.
“To those people who think, ‘I hate networking.’ Don’t say that anymore,” RoAne says. “Stop networking, start socializing. Socialize with people so that they feel a social connection to you.”
Here’s one tip you can use right away. How to deal with the uncomfortable silence in a social setting. This might happen at a party when you’re chatting with people you don’t know or even with a client in the office. What’s the way out of this situation? RoAne says there are magic words that work every time: “Tell me more.” Just asking the person you’re talking about to explain more opens angles of discussion and also lets “that person have the stage,” she says. Earnestly looking to learn more about what interests the person you’ve met may help you form a connection.
The same method applies, too, when you hit a lull in a face-to-face conversation with a client in your office, even if the client is unhappy about something you’ve done. “These are the tricky situations,” she says. Just say “why don’t you tell me about it?” Being concerned and interested can cool the situation and put you in a position to help — and even strengthen the relationship.
That’s just one suggestion to turn conversations with people into something you enjoy. Here are several more from RoAne, including:
Many advisors try to “forge trust,” RoAne says. “I don’t know that you can really forge it,” she says. “Trust is built over time, not overnight.”
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