Hands up if you have ever been to a networking event and handed out a bazillion cards, told a bazillion people ALL about your fantastic business and what you do… they were nodding away asking loads of questions and seemed so keen, yet in the following weeks you found yourself sitting by the phone waiting for it to ring! (Feeling pretty much how you have in the past after a date you were so sure went really well, yet…).
Or hands up if you have ever seen someone you have actually met before - several times - and they clearly don’t remember ever meeting you. Don’t you just hate that? I know I do.
Of course, some people always seem to make a big impression and be remembered. But unfortunately it’s because they have more of the walk-in-the-room-with-jazz-hands-shouting-“I’m heeeeeree” kind of personality. We all know someone like that, right?
It really can feel so confusing getting the balance right between being visible and remembered but not - after one too many glasses of complimentary wine - coming across as overbearing or a bit arrogant.
The truth is that getting the balance right can actually be quite simple. As Maya Angelou has said, people don’t always remember exactly what you said, or exactly what you did… but they will always remember how you made them feel.
When you make other people feel good, that positive warm fuzzy feeling goes with them and THAT is what they will remember - and what will make them want to pick up that telephone!
When I work with people – whether it be preparing for an interview, making more impact at networking, standing out in meetings (or yes, getting that guy to call after that date…) -
I have found that it just takes implementing some small things that really make a big difference in the way people will feel about them and ultimately the results they get. Here are my top five:
1. Use the handshake as a tool
When you shake hands with someone, you make physical contact with them. Often it is the first or the only physical contact you’ll have with them (we are talking about business here, not dating!) This shouldn’t just be treated as a convention: it’s a chance to communicate genuine interest in someone and demonstrate your warmth. Remember that physical contact can make an instant and powerful visceral impression on people – many of my clients tell me that ‘dead-fish’ handshakes make them feel physically sick!
2. When people are talking, look at them and not around the room
Remember to keep your focus on the person you are talking to. I have been to countless networking events where you see two people in conversation – but one of them is actually looking over the other person’s shoulder or looking absent-mindedly around the room. This can make you look rude or bored (which you might well be), and while you will be rarely be called on this, you can bet that the person you were talking to noticed it and was left feeling pretty bad about themselves. If you are bored still give that person your undivided attention and then politely excuse yourself with a warm smile.
3. Lean towards the person you are talking to
Without getting ‘all up’ in someone’s personal space, try leaning towards them slightly when in conversation. Your body language will communicate genuine interest and help to build unconscious rapport with them…interested people are interesting!
4. Be positive
The first words out of your mouth when meeting someone should not be negative. Critical comments about the weather, the British transport system, or the catering at the networking event you’re attending might be funny – but they can also make you look like a moaner and someone who is very problem-focussed. By ensuring that you are positive and upbeat with someone, they’re far more likely to want to do business with you in the future. And no-one likes a mood-hoover*!
5. Add value
The more value you add to an encounter the more positive the impact you make. Compliment someone, teach them something new, introduce them to someone, or do them a favour…whatever it is – just keep in mind, ‘what benefit does this person get from knowing me?’
I would love to hear about people you have met and the impact they have made on you – whether good or bad! Do share – as well as any of your own tips for making a positive impact
*A mood-hoover is someone who sucks the energy out of the room by being really negative or moaning or being really boring.