Believe it or not, I’m naturally an introvert….an anti social, socialite. I can turn it on or off and I much rather prefer to be off. Unfortunately, that doesn’t work in business. Or in any other situation where you’re trying to thrive. You have to be able to make connection with people because there’s always someone watching who has the power to put you in position for the next level of life.
Recently, I spoke at a panel for the Atlanta Urban League and one thing everyone kept mentioning was the network they’d created through membership. From jobs to friends and even romantic relationships– almost everyone in the room had helped one another achieve something. That’s the power in knowing people and people knowing you. It pays to be plugged in.
So if you’re not a people person and have trouble naturally connecting to new people in new environments, these 5 simple tips should help you make a great first impression!
Sounds obvious, right? You’d be surprised how many people don’t realize that they aren’t smiling until someone tells them. I happen to be one of those people. I have this natural b*tch face thing going on and even though I’m not cheesing, I could still be happy. For me, it takes a conscious effort to smile really hard because otherwise someone will catch a cold stare. Don’t just smile at events though, you never know who’s attention you could catch by flashing your smile!
#2 Speak First
Take the pressure off of yourself by speaking first when you enter the room. Don’t let that awkwardness build up because you’re too afraid to speak. It’s much easier to say hello to everyone when walking in than it is to join in an existing conversation later. If you’re an introvert, you will probably eventually talk yourself out of speaking to anyone if you don’t get it over with. I’ve also learned that mentioning you’re new, it’s your first time at this particular event or venue, etc will help you break the ice 🙂
#3 Ask Questions
I read this great book once that taught me tons of ways to start conversations with strangers (I really am an introvert and yes I really needed a book to help me) and one tip was to ask questions. People really love to talk about themselves and they really appreciate people who let them do it. If you want to warm up to someone new, let them do the talking. The key is to remain engaged enough to ask questions to keep the conversation going. [The book is called How to Talk to Anyone: 92 Little Tricks for Big Success in Relationships]
#4 Listen & Make Connections
In order to make a genuine connection, you have to actually be present during your chat. Another great tip from the book I read was to find common denominators. If the person you’re talking to mentions being from a city you’ve visited, mention it. If they attended the same college as your best friend, talk about that. Maybe they mention having a dog that’s the same breed as yours. Be intentional as you listen by looking for simple things you have in common.
#5 Follow Up
The first 4 things mean nothing if you skip number this one. 90% of people who attend networking events or take your business card will not follow up. This makes it really easy for you to stand out and grab their attention. Your follow up could be a quick email, a follow on social media or even a text message (depending on the circumstance of course) but make it a point to reconnect with the people you met. I’ve found that sending a quick email before I leave the event is the best way to make sure I don’t forget to follow up!
The doors to the next level of your life are always unlocked by people who are already there! Take these 5 simple tips and put yourself in position to take everything you deserve!!!