Networking events are a great place to meet future business partners, clients, and employers. It is surprising then, that many people do not know that the best way to be successful at an event is to make a great first impression
People make an impression of you within the first few seconds of meeting you. They quickly evaluate your verbal and non-verbal cues to decide whether or not you are a likable person. And once formed, first impressions can be hard to change. There’s no way around this, so it’s on you to nail the first impression.
Making a good impression involves doing the right things and avoiding a number of common mistakes that many people make. Since a first impression is the starting point for meaningful and lasting relationships, it’s imperative to continually hone your communication skills. This is how the most connected people build relationships.
Here is a short list of things you should do, or not do when meeting someone for the first time when at a networking event to make the best impression. How many have you done in the past?
- Greet others with a smile and a firm handshake.
- Be curious and genuinely interested in other people.
- Don’t interrupt others when they’re talking. No one likes being interrupted.
- Make an offer to help or support them. I like to ask if there’s any way I can be helpful. I mean it, and if there is, I follow through.
- For men: Be aware that your body language and spatial orientation can make women uncomfortable. While this usually happens unconsciously, “standing over” women or taking a suggestive body posture can make women feel unequal or uncomfortable. These micro-aggressions are easy to avoid with self-awareness.
- Actually listen to other people. Don’t just stand there and wait for your turn to talk. Ask clarifying questions and provide confirmation that you’re listening.
- Practice good body language and posture. If you don’t know what that is, or what it looks like, learn.
- Don’t complain. You might think you’re stating facts, but you’re really just complaining. No one likes a complainer.
- If you’re shy or an introvert, then ask a lot of questions. This helps take pressure off you and it allows the other person to do more of the talking. This has two benefits. First, it gives you space. Second, it helps you learn more about the other person. Remember, you make a great first impression when a person feels like you are interested in them.
- Listen more than you speak. Give others the space to share and be heard.
Making a great first impression at a networking event can guarantee that you will be successful. From getting a call back from the person you traded business cards with to taking the first step in a new venture, it is important to make yourself stand out from the crowd in a memorable way. To find more ways to make a great first impression at a networking event, read Andrew Thomas‘s helpful hints from Inc. here.
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