Emotional Intelligence is crucial to Network effectively

You know the old adage that goes, “You only get one chance to make a good first impression”. When attending networking events, making a good first impression is crucial, if you are ever going to get the opportunity, to meet again to discuss business. Of course not everyone is going to connect and build rapport instantly with everyone else. We all have different personality types; different thinking styles and we don’t all immediately see things the same way.

To be successful at networking events you need to connect with the right people, who will not only see you as a potential supplier, but they must also find you interesting, competent, professional and someone, who can add meaningful value to them and their organization.

How can you become more LIKABLE?

The reality about being successful at any networking event is this – “If people don’t find you to be “LIKABLE”, they will not want to talk to you for very long at any event, let alone want to meet with you afterwards, to discuss how you can work together. “LIKABILITY” is all about “Emotional Intelligence”. The great news about Emotional Intelligence is that it is a skill you can learn.

Creating a GREAT First Impression

I want to share a few ideas that I have learned over the years, that will support you to create a great first impression. These ideas come down to learning how to master your Emotional Intelligence, which supports you to form deeper, more meaningful relationships with people. As you can imagine, how LIKABLE you are is a crucial factor that determines how effectively you can create and nurture relationships with your future customers.

Be Authentic and be Enthusiastic about meeting

I know this sounds a little obvious, but when meeting anyone in a business setting, “JUST BE YOU”. Yes, be that same person, who bumps into an old friend in the shopping center and is warm and welcoming. When you do this you will avoid that awkward terse and serious first impression that people may get, when they meet you for the first time in a business setting.

Yes coming across as formal in a business setting may seem like the most appropriate thing to do, but unfortunately, it is not always the best thing to do. You need to find a happy medium, somewhere between putting on a false inauthentic grin and over the top false bravado and finding that real warm self that is meeting with an old friend. When you can project the real “YOU” into any business meeting, people will more easily warm to you and want to connect with you.

Action Idea:

When you meet anyone for the first time at a networking event, “JUST BE YOU”. This will allow you to come across as natural. Give your, best authentic smile, as if you were meeting an old friend. Project an open posture with open, welcoming hands. Make eye contact, smile in a welcoming fashion and offer a firm handshake. Making a great first Impression, “REALLY IS THAT EASY”.

Authentic compliments go a long way

As I have stated in my previous articles on networking. Preparation is crucial before any event.

  • Prior to attending any event call the organizer before hand and get a list of the people, who will be attending.
  • Identify at least three people, who fit your perfect future customers profile and research them on Social media, using Google searches etc. and discover as much about them as possible
  • Using this research compliment them on a recent accomplishment etc.

Emotionally Intelligent People are great listeners

Learn the art of asking open-ended questions and then really listen to what people have to say. People don’t care how interesting you are. They want to feel like you are really interested in what they have to say. It is a well know fact, that people love to talk about themselves and if you want to connect with people, then it is crucial that you listen for and encourage people to discuss their favorite subject – “THEMSELVES”.

Action Idea:

The first five minutes after meeting anyone, should be treated as an opportunity to connect and get to know him or her. It is an opportunity to find out as much about them as possible. You should ask as many open-ended questions, as possible, to encourage people to speak about themselves. During the first five minutes of meeting, you should discover so much info about the person, that would equip you to virtually write an essay, about everything you have learned, afterwards. The more you can learn, during that first five minutes, the more likely you are to develop a long term mutually beneficial relationship with them in the future.

Ask Open-Ended Questions

The more open ended questions you can ask during those first five minutes, the more you encourage engagement and rapport. Open-ended questions encourage great dialogue and help you to keep the conversation flowing. As you keep contributing to the conversation, using open-ended questions, whilst showing real interest in what the other person is saying. You ensure that the conversation does not come to an abrupt end and the other person, sees you as really interested in what they have to say.

Find something you have in Common

As you can imagine, people like to connect with people like them. It is for this reason that I recommend that you try to uncover something you have in common, when conducting your research prior to the event. If you are unable to discover something you have in common, whilst researching, then use open-ended questions to try to discover what you have in common, with them.

The things you have in common may not be obvious. For example if someone is a runner and you are not. Then ask them a question about something you have in common, namely a question like  ”What do you eat before running a marathon”. You may not run, but you understand food. You can use this simple principal to connect something you have knowledge of to discover what you have in common with other people.

Observe body Language Cues

Learn to pay attention to people’s body language cues. Look for subjects that make people light up, where they become more animated and make them straighten up and take notice. When you practice the art of identifying these body language cues early in any conversation, you can easily discover what really matters to them.

When you discover something that really resonates with someone, it is an opportunity to explore commonalities, shared passions and it will give you the opportunity to move the conversation in the direction that they can relate to. Observing body language cues is a very effective way to keep the conversation moving during those first five minutes of meeting.

What is the most important word in any Language?

I believe that the most important word in any language is “YOUR NAME”. When you meet someone for the first time, try to use his or her name throughout the conversation. You can expand this to include details that you have heard during the conversation. This helps to reinforce your LIKABILITY that you have banked during those initial five minutes of the conversation.

Action Idea:

The more you can remember about those first five minutes, when you meet again, the easier it is for people to connect with you. I find it useful to have a notepad to jot down the details of the conversation, so that I can read it just before meeting again. This helps me to remember the names of acquaintances, children, pets etc. When you speak freely about details from your first meeting, it will make you memorable and help people to start to know, like and trust you.

Developing the Emotional Intelligence to support you to become LIKABLE, is easier than you think. It just requires a little preparation and a real commitment to develop the necessary skills.

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