We do a lot of networking as part of our Crosstown Solutions business model. To connect with customers and other influential people, we have to bring our A-game to the conversation. Here are three valuable tips that can be used in any situation:

• Be Assertive: Don’t be afraid to start a conversation. It’s acceptable to go up and introduce oneself to other people in a networking setting (or any setting), as long as it doesn’t interrupt another conversation. The best practice is to look for someone else who isn’t already engaged in a discussion and use an ice-breaker question to spark interest.

• Be Present: In our Crosstown Solutions training, we stress being present when speaking with others. We cast our focus on the other person with the intent to understand what he or she is saying. We avoid distractions like technology, phones, and other factors that can pull our attention away. The person to whom we are speaking is most important at that moment.

• Let Them Talk: During Crosstown Solutions presentations, we engage people by asking questions and encouraging them to participate in the conversation. By doing so, we learn more about them and their interests. By listening, we can respond in a way that is meaningful to them and form more valuable connections.

We strive to connect with others on a meaningful basis.