Last month Terry Lombardo, CMP shared how old-fashioned manners can improve your networking skills to make better first impressions. Read on for part two of her networking tips for how to shine in your daily interactions and build valuable relationships in the industry.
Now that you know how to improve your daily conversations how do you build on that to create better relationships and improve networking? By starting at the beginning with first impressions.
Does walking into a room full of strangers make you apprehensive? Try this tip: take some pointers from successful celebrities or public figures, specifically ones that you admire. Watch how they enter a room and command attention either through their smile, stature (referring to good posture, not notoriety), that little pause as they look around and make eye contact, as well as all those other details that add to the entrance. Not everyone can pull off a James Bond arrival, but you can still have one and make it your own by walking tall and picking your mark whether it be heading towards the food line or going straight for that one person you chose to look in the eye. These are small details and decisions but they can be used effectively make a difference.
Beyond that all important first impression (and yes, your clothes do speak volumes about you but we have limited space in this blog so I’m assuming you’ve already got that covered, right?) involving your entrance and personalized pitch line, make sure you’ve got that old-fashioned business card in hand when you’re networking because it’s how you exchange contact information easily and professionally. I know that you’re thinking this is old school, but honestly, unless you’ve got a photographic memory you’ve got to capture at least an email or phone number to stay in touch not to mention minimum details about that person. True, it is becoming more acceptable to whip out that phone and tap into your contact pages for instant access, but this is one area that you have to judge for yourself. Is the person going to accept you getting into your phone (and be honest, can you possibly do it without also stopping to answer three text messages?) and therefore avoiding a longer conversation or do you simply graciously accept the business card for future reference? Either way might be acceptable but you have to be the judge, and as in your intro and entrance, this is another area where those all-important people skills come into play.
So do yourself a favor and think about how you personally and socially present yourself in your daily transactions. Can you curb the screen addiction long enough to shine as a conversationalist or will you be remembered for being ‘that guy,’ the one who is never quite present in the hospitality of others even when they are closer than the nearest laptop? It’s your choice, but like your mother frequently reminded you, make good ones!