Isn’t it surprising that the hardest thing for most people to do when networking or meeting strangers is being natural and AUTHENTIC? Yet, when you are “comfortable in your own skin” and know your own style you are more natural, and people are naturally drawn to you!
This is because you are authentically being yourself, showing kindness and respect to THEM instead of focusing only on YOU! Rather than canvassing the room and exchanging as many business cards as possible, start finding ways to create authentic “connections.”
When you are talking with someone, make a complimentary comment about the event, what the person is wearing, or about something positive in the current economy or cultural environment. And once you can identify and tune in to another person’s style, it is much easier to relate because you can focus immediately on talking about what’s important to them!
This will help you determine if there is something a future meeting could possibly lead to, or if you sense you could help one another in some specific way as a professional. Do you want to know now what to look for to get the best “guess” of the person’s style? Here it is!
First impressions count...
Since it’s the first 30 seconds that count when we meet people for the first time, find ways to build relationships by making your first impression a positive one. It certainly takes a lot more energy to overcome a negative first impression than it does to make a good one in the first place.
So, try making up an image that helps you to remember a person's first name, repeat it, look at their card to remember it, and then give that person your undivided attention. Ask questions, listen to their answers and show genuine interest in them! Everyone loves a listener!
What other people have to go on when they first meet you is:
If you know you have things to work on, make a list on the blank pages at the end of this book so you don’t forget to work on them! And the good news? What makes the most lasting and positive first impression is YOU - bringing a smile and a high level of self-confidence about your own style and the fact that you are picking up clues about the other person during these first initial interactions!
Tune into what the other person is telegraphing through their face, voice, posture, gestures, words, and overall interactions with you. If you can just mirror their body language and compare it to what you learn later about how to do that in this book, it will also give you clues about their primary focus because of what style they are.
The tip here is that not only when you “mirror” their personal body language, but their behavioral style that they instantly feel more comfortable around you. So, if you can adapt yourself into becoming more like their twin, they will automatically trust that you’ll “Do unto them the way they like being done unto” (because you know them SO WELL!)
Our mentor, Dr. Tony Alessandra, calls this tip using the “Platinum Rule” – the one that’s the opposite of the Golden Rule which is “Do unto others as YOU would want them to do unto YOU.” Can you see the difference?
You might be thinking, “How do I do that?” Great question. And the answer first starts with, “Do you know yourself and how others see you?” If not, as you master the art of “people-reading” you become more people-literate, meaning you will become familiar with what makes up the concept of personality styles and you just might be surprised to realize that you are indeed unique! You will also realize that each style-type is a result of dozens of different needs, emotions, and fears, plus each has preferred ways of doing things.
But once you know yourself, you will be able to stand in confidence, with who you are and be ready to DISCover who the other person is! You will know what motivates you, what your preferred types of life situations are and what you feel most comfortable doing?
You’ll DISCover things about yourself you knew but didn’t realize might be getting in the way of your relationships. From taking a DISC assessment, you will quickly see that what everyone calls your weaker traits are only “weak” because they are actually the opposite speed and focus of your strengths!
Therefore, seeing your weaker traits is GOOD NEWS, and will help you avoid applying for the wrong job or getting into the wrong relationship or business deal! Not that you cannot adapt and adjust your style... you can... for a short period.
But don’t plan on having to maintain that opposite style for a long, long time! It would drive you bananas if someone required you to be different from who you truly are for more than a couple of minutes - like during networking events – yet people choose the wrong jobs just to get the pay check, and even worse, the wrong relationships!
Don’t worry about the word “weaker” either, because you can develop and adjust any part of your style when you need to, and your primary style shows up the moment you walk into a room!
You might want to purchase our E-Book Mastering the Art of Networking, as it has some great tips on how to read people for building rapport and how to adapt your style when networking. We also highly recommend that you purchase a DISC Personal Style assessment for identifying the strengths and communication preferences of your style. GOOD LUCK! We wish you an abundance of success at all your networking events.
Sandra is very passionate about supporting others to be the best they can be through sharing her stories and experiences she has gained along the way...