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6 Ways to Turn Friends’ Weddings into a Networking Event Goldmine!

6 Ways to Turn Friends’ Weddings into a Networking Event Goldmine!

Weddings are a fun time to celebrate the union of two people who love each other. However, for anyone not directly involved in the wedding party, weddings can often become boring and stilted. There are plenty of ways you can keep yourself occupied at weddings. A wedding is one of the best places to network among friends and acquaintances. If you choose to use a friend’s wedding as a networking opportunity, there are a few guidelines you should follow that will keep your interactions appropriate.

Ways to Turn Your Friends’ Weddings into a Networking Event

I.Ask for introductions

A wedding is the perfect place to meet new people. This is one of the best ways to widen your circle of business associates. If you do not know someone, simply ask someone you do know for an introduction. If you can’t find anyone that knows the person you want to meet, you can make a note to ask the bride or groom after the wedding for an introduction. Please don’t bother the bride and groom for networking help at their own wedding. If you’re feeling extra bold, go ahead and approach a stranger on your own.

II.Bring business cards

Business cards are the perfect tool at weddings because they communicate all of your necessary details in one place. If you meet someone who could make a good work associate in the future, giving them a business card is the perfect way to stay in touch. However, at a wedding, you do not want to push business too hard. Only hand out a business card if someone asks for it. This will prevent you from looking pushy or too personally focused on yourself on your friend’s special day.

III.Small talk before shop talk

Never launch directly into business talk. Allow business and work topics to come up naturally in the conversation. Usually it will, because after comments on the weather and how nice the bride looks, there is often little else for people to discuss. At this point, many people will ask you about your career, which is an invitation for you to share a little about what you do and get some networking in.

IV.Keep business conversations short

No matter how into a business conversation you are, lengthy conversations about business at a wedding can detract from the joy of the event. Even if you are at the wedding with a work associate, it is best to keep shop talk to short conversations. If you must have extended conversations about work topics, take the conversation out of the main room where the wedding reception is taking place out of respect for the bride and groom.

V.Network on the sidelines

Never exchange personal details and business cards out in the main part of the action, such as on the dance floor. Keep business networking interactions off to the sidelines. This will keep the attention from you and on the bride and groom where it belongs. No bride wants to see someone conducting business in the middle of her wedding, and you should respect that. You can always take your conversation or exchange to another room or outside the main wedding area.

VI.Do not disclose personal details

Weddings typically serve alcohol, and if you are not careful, you may end up disclosing more personal information that you would like to casual acquaintances. If you want to use a wedding as a networking opportunity, do not overindulge in alcohol. Keep a clear head to avoid any embarrassing situations that could cause your image to become tarnished and all of the hard work you put into networking to fly out the window.

If you these tips, you will find that weddings can be a great place to find potential co-workers, associates, clients, and professional contacts that can help you in your career. As long as you observe a few rules of common sense and courtesy while at the wedding to show respect to the bride and groom and you can take advantage of all of the networking available to you.

Featured photo credit:  Bride and Groom Under Archway via Shutterstock

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Simon Andras

Simon is an entrepreneur who blogs about lifestyle.

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Last Updated on February 21, 2019

The Secret to Effective Conflict Resolution: The IBR Approach

The Secret to Effective Conflict Resolution: The IBR Approach

In business, in social relationships, in family… In whatever context conflict is always inevitable, especially when you are in the leader role. This role equals “make decisions for the best of majority” and the remaining are not amused. Conflicts arise.

Conflicts arise when we want to push for a better quality work but some members want to take a break from work.

Conflicts arise when we as citizens want more recreational facilities but the Government has to balance the needs to maintain tourism growth.

Conflicts are literally everywhere.

Avoiding Conflicts a No-No and Resolving Conflicts a Win-Win

Avoiding conflicts seem to be a viable option for us. The cruel fact is, it isn’t. Conflicts won’t walk away by themselves. They will, instead, escalate and haunt you back even more when we finally realize that’s no way we can let it be.

Moreover, avoiding conflicts will eventually intensify the misunderstanding among the involved parties. And the misunderstanding severely hinders open communication which later on the parties tend to keep things secret. This is obviously detrimental to teamwork.

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Some may view conflicts as the last step before arguments. And they thus leave it aside as if they never happen. This is not true.

Conflicts are the intersect point between different individuals with different opinions. And this does not necessarily lead to argument.

Instead, proper handling of conflicts can actually result in a win-win situation – both parties are pleased and allies are gained. A better understanding between each other and future conflicts are less likely to happen.

The IBR Approach to Resolve Conflicts

Here, we introduce to you an effective approach to resolve conflicts – the Interest-Based Relational (IBR) approach. The IBR approach was developed by Roger Fisher and William Ury in their 1981 book Getting to Yes. It stresses the importance of the separation between people and their emotions from the problem. Another focus of the approach is to build mutual understanding and respect as they strengthen bonds among parties and can ultimately help resolve conflicts in a harmonious way. The approach suggests a 6-step procedure for conflict resolution:

Step 1: Prioritize Good Relationships

How? Before addressing the problem or even starting the discussion, make it clear the conflict can result in a mutual trouble and through subsequent respectful negotiation the conflict can be resolved peacefully. And that brings the best outcome to the whole team by working together.

Why? It is easy to overlook own cause of the conflict and point the finger to the members with different opinions. With such a mindset, it is likely to blame rather than to listen to the others and fail to acknowledge the problem completely. Such a discussion manner will undermine the good relationships among the members and aggravate the problem.

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Example: Before discussion, stress that the problem is never one’s complete fault. Everyone is responsible for it. Then, it is important to point out our own involvement in the problem and state clearly we are here to listen to everyone’s opinions rather than accusing others.

Step 2: People Are NOT the Cause of Problem

How? State clearly the problem is never one-sided. Collaborative effort is needed. More importantly, note the problem should not be taken personally. We are not making accusations on persons but addressing the problem itself.

Why? Once things taken personally, everything will go out of control. People will become irrational and neglect others’ opinions. We are then unable to address the problem properly because we cannot grasp a fuller and clearer picture of the problem due to presumption.

Example: In spite of the confronting opinions, we have to emphasize that the problem is not a result of the persons but probably the different perspectives to view it. So, if we try to look at the problem from the other’s perspective, we may understand why there are varied opinions.

Step 3: Listen From ALL Stances

How? Do NOT blame others. It is of utmost importance. Ask for everyone’s opinions. It is important to let everyone feel that they contribute to the discussion. Tell them their involvement is essential to solve the problem and their effort is very much appreciated.

Why? None wants to be ignored. If one feels neglected, it is very likely for he/she to be aggressive. It is definitely not what we hope to see in a discussion. Acknowledging and being acknowledged are equally important. So, make sure everyone has equal opportunity to express their views. Also, realizing their opinions are not neglected, they will be more receptive to other opinions.

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Example: A little trick can played here: Invite others to talk first. It is an easy way to let others feel involved and ,more importantly, know their voices are heard. Also, we can show that we are actively listening to them by giving direct eye-contact and nodding. One important to note is that never interrupt anyone. Always let them finish first beforeanother one begins.

Step 4: Listen Comes First, Talk Follows

How? Ensure everyone has listened to one another points of view. It can be done by taking turn to speak and leaving the discussion part at last. State once again the problem is nothing personal and no accusation should be made.

Why? By turn-taking, everyone can finish talking and voices of all sides can be heard indiscriminantly. This can promote willingness to listen to opposing opinions.

Example: We can prepare pieces of paper with different numbers written on them. Then, ask different members to pick one and talk according to the sequence of the number. After everyone’s finished, advise everyone to use “I” more than “You” in the discussion period to avoid others thinking that it is an accusation.

Step 5: Understand the Facts, Then Address the Problem

How? List out ALL the facts first. Ask everyone to tell what they know about the problems.

Why? Sometimes your facts are unknown to the others while they may know something we don’t. Missing out on these facts could possibly lead to inaccurate capture of the problem. Also, different known facts can lead to different perception of the matter. It also helps everyone better understand the problem and can eventually help reach a solution.

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Example: While everyone is expressing their own views, ask them to write down everything they know that is true to the problem. As soon as everyone has finished, all facts can be noted and everyone’s understanding of the problem is raised.

Step 6: Solve the Problem Together

How? Knowing what everyone’s thinking, it is now time to resolve the conflict. Up to this point, everyone should have understood the problem better. So, it is everyone’s time to suggest some solutions. It is important not to have one giving all the solutions.

Why? Having everyone suggesting their solutions is important as they will not feel excluded and their opinions are considered. Besides, it may also generate more solutions that can better resolve the conflicts. Everyone will more likely be satisfied with the result.

Example: After discussion, ask all members to suggest any possible solutions and stress that all solutions are welcomed. State clearly that we are looking for the best outcomes for everyone’s sake rather than battling to win over one another. Then, evaluate all the solutions and pick the one that is in favor of everyone.

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