I’m pretty sure if I did a poll among working folks these days, after death and public speaking, the next thing they fear most is networking. It makes sense really because face-to-face networking is public speaking in a one-on-one format. We’ve all heard the phrase, “You only get one chance at a great first impression.” So, the pressure is actually on us before we even walk into the big meet-up.
Moreover, as I’ve pointed out before, the additional pressure to answer the question, “What do you do?” in an impressive manner makes us even more stressed out.
Yes, the ability to deliver our personal brand effectively in that face-to-face meeting can feel overwhelming – and yet, it doesn’t have to be this way.
There are 10 tips fellow blogger Chris Brogan has repeatedly shared in his posts. He is someone who travels and meets thousands of people each year, so I think we can all agree that Chris must have a good sense of what stands out in the first impression category.
And, while I don’t travel as much as Chris, I do meet hundreds of people every month when I speak. So, I can vouch his tips are accurate. Here they are:
- Be smart. Confidence matters tons.
- Remember that you’re every bit as important as the person you’re meeting. Not pompous or arrogant; just important.
- Don’t push your agenda. Just get to know me. We can do business any time. Just meet me. We’ll do business later.
- Share. Give people things (and things can be information, ideas, introductions to others).
- Praise other people. The more you tell me about yourself, the more I wonder if you’re cocky/arrogant.
- Share the air. If you talk and talk and talk and I nod and smile the whole time, I’m happy, but also probably not going to remember much about you.
- Brevity is okay, but also knowing a nugget about what makes you passionate is great. If you say, “I’m really into surfing,” then I’ve got lots to ask you. If you say, “I love your tweets,” I can say thank you.
- Introduce me to someone else. I love meeting your friends, too.
- Bring your best ideas. If you’ve got something to run by me, it’s okay if it’s brief. Share the nugget, not the riverbed.
- Know that coffee and snacks trump breakfast or dinner. People often want to continue talking over a meal. It’s hard to meet with lots of people and take an hour or more for a meal. Coffee or beer works just fine.
Do you see the themes in his tips?
Be thoughtful, humble and attentive. It’s simple good manners, don’t you think? In a time when many people are very self-absorbed with their own problems and concerns, Chris is pointing out a true gem: stand out by absorbing yourself in others. A brilliant and easy-to-implement brand strategy if I’ve ever heard one.
So, what have you done absorb yourself in others lately? Give these tips a try at your next meet-up and see what happens?
I guarantee you’ll be memorable for all the right reasons.