Meeting new people and nurturing business relationships is very similar to the process that singles use in forming new personal relationships.

Gina Hendrix, an expert matchmaker in Los Angeles, blogs about the dating tips she shares with clients. Her post on “Basic dating do’s & don’ts for men” reminded me of some of the tips I give people on business networking.

One tip is especially important: Be generally interested in what the other person says.

Too often people in a conversation are thinking more about what they’ll say when it’s their turn, instead of responding to what the other person just said.

It’s more than just hearing what the other person said. It’s best to ask a question or make a comment. Make it clear that you heard both the factual part and the emotional feelings that the other person expressed.

For example, if someone says, “The price of jewelry is going up!” you better know if that person is a buyer or a seller of jewelry before you automatically respond with a comment.

In addition to paying close attention to what someone says during a conversation, take good notes later. Open your contact manager and use the notes feature to enter the details that you learned. Be sure to note interesting facts that they shared, and pay close attention to their likes and dislikes.

Then, before your next visit review your past notes so you’ll be prepared to move the conversation – and the relationship – along.

Whether you are meeting new people to expand your business network or your social network, many of the techniques for growing those relationships are the same.