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The Jelly Effect at Networking Events

Good manners have always been important but do we occasionally let them slip in our attempt to impress?
The Jelly Effect at Networking Events

Isn’t it interesting how often people overlook the importance of good manners? I am reading an excellent book by a friend of mine, Andy Bounds,  The Jelly Effect, in which he suggests that effective networking hinges on one's mastery of good manners. Important, particularly when genuine connections are more valued than ever.

Good manners are the cornerstone of civil interaction, yet their consistent application in professional settings can sometimes be overlooked. In networking contexts, good manners aren’t merely about adhering to social niceties but about fostering genuine engagement and mutual respect. Here’s how good manners can elevate your networking success. 

Firstly, well-mannered individuals express genuine interest in others’ professions and passions before delving into their own stories. Such a practice not only sets a tone of humility but also cultivates a foundation of reciprocal respect.

Moreover, etiquette in conversation is paramount. A person with good manners does not interrupt or seek to dominate dialogues but listens attentively. This attentiveness signals respect and interest, proving invaluable in building lasting professional relationships. It’s also about the subtle cues of maintaining eye contact and not allowing one's gaze to wander over the other’s shoulder in search of “better” company, which can be perceived as dismissive.

Another critical aspect is the restraint from aggressive selling during initial interactions. The essence of networking lies in relationship building, not immediate transactional gains. 

Finally, the practice of waiting to be asked about oneself reflects a deep sense of self-awareness and respect for the conversational balance. It’s about sharing space rather than occupying it, allowing for a natural flow of information and fostering a more inclusive and engaging interaction.

While these manners might be inherently understood, their deliberate practice is what sets apart truly effective networkers from the rest. It’s not just about what you know or who you know, but how you relate to people that determines the depth and durability of your business relationships.

The principles outlined in The Jelly Effect about networking through good manners are not just guidelines but essential strategies for anyone looking to grow in a professional setting. 


1. Ask about other people before talking about themselves: Start conversations by showing interest in others' activities and interests.


2. Don't butt into conversations: Respect ongoing discussions and wait for a natural pause or invitation to join in.


3. Don't look over someone's shoulder when speaking to them: Maintain eye contact and focus on the person you are conversing with, rather than looking around for someone else to talk to.


4. Show genuine interest in what others say: Listen actively and engage with the content of the conversation, which demonstrates respect and appreciation for the speaker.


5. Don't aggressively sell on a first meeting: Avoid turning initial interactions into sales pitches; focus on building a relationship first.


6. Don't walk off having spoken only about yourself: Ensure that the conversation is balanced, with an exchange of information about both parties.


7. Wait to be asked before talking in depth about yourself: Let the conversation naturally lead to deeper discussions about your activities and interests.

I dare you to measure yourself against the list above. No one gets it right every time.  If any of this article resonates I would recommend you go buy the The Jelly Effect by Andy Bounds