When you are networking, you want to talk to someone as though they are sitting in your kitchen sipping coffee or tea. Pretend you are talking about the kids or the weather. Get casual. Otherwise, you are too stiff and pretentious.
Being Stiff is a Turnoff
People don’t like to hear stiff talking. It makes them cringe and pull away. Kind of the opposite of the purpose of networking. You might think you sound sophisticated and intelligent, but to most you sound like a snob. What is the point of networking? It is to make connections and have people interact with you. You want them to want to be around you even in the virtual world.
You need to talk in a way that will not push people away. That means generally talking in a way they can understand using words they understand.
Don’t use big words when you are networking. What I mean by ‘big’ are words that the average person doesn’t know. Avoid ones that are used only in the academic field or by Oxford professors. You don’t have to dumb down your conversation. Just don’t get it to the PHD level.
You will run into a situation where you use a word that is rather common but the person you are interacting with doesn’t know it. I once used a word that I use all the time and everyone around understands. What I didn’t know was that this person barely graduated high school and did not have a big vocabulary. I should have learned a little more about this person before I started the conversation. But she got mad that I was using a big word. Learn more about the person’s education level is you can. If not, don’t assume they are on the same level as you are. Start out simple.
Use Appropriate Slang
Casual talk usually involves some slang. Don’t hesitate to use it when you are networking. It relaxes others and brings them into the discussion when they see how easy going to the interactions are. But they also need to be appropriate.
Don’t use slang that is profanity or even borders on it. I was in a group where one individual began tossing around vulgar slang. When we asked him to stop, he got worse. I left the group. This is not how you network. You have to be willing to adjust your language for the audience around you. Never assume vulgarity is acceptable.
People gravitate towards others who make them feel comfortable. That is why so many people live near those from their same background. Familiarity is safe.