One of the greatest challenges in networking is making sure you come across as warm and genuine. While it seems to come naturally to some, you can actually train yourself up. Use these 5 helpful tips to come across as more genuine.
1) Make it all about the other person: In meeting someone I always recommend you know how to present yourself, but what should not be lost is that you need to master the art of making your interactions all about the other person. Whether you compliment someone’s clothing style or job, when the opportunity to talk about yourself turns up, try to turn it into an opportunity to talk about the person you are in front of and meeting.
2) Don’t be afraid to touch: Okay, let’s not get creepy now. What do I man by this? A lot can be conveyed by a good handshake. Frequently at networking events I will run into people who have bone shattering handshakes. They obviously took the tip that you need to have a strong handshake. Unfortunately they took it as a chance to assert dominance. This is unnecessary. Have a friendly handshake that is not imposing. Also, if the moment is appropriate, a pat on the back or a quick pat on the forearm with a compliment can be a nice way to create warmth.
3) Don’t be afraid to be self deprecating: When you are meeting people out there in a networking context, don’t be afraid to downplay your accomplishments. You know what you bring to the table, so use that confidence to your advantage. If someone compliments you, accept graciously, but always point out how the other person might be even better or more impressive. Remember, we can always be better at anything so it’s not a stretch to say, oh I am still just learning.”
4) No need to Pose: So I will be the first to admit that I really like my headshot. I’m told it conveys power. The thing is, that’s not a very warm image. It is nice to show me as an authority, but in person you will rarely see me look like that, if ever. In person you want to project warmth. That means no crossed arms, no powerful poses. Present yourself, physically, openly.
5) Ask for nothing: One of the easiest ways to lose the warmth points and not come across genuinely is to ask for something. Networking should be natural. You are building a network of relationships for potential long term mutual benefit. If you begin a relationship with an ask you risk coming across as a taker and not someone who is genuinely interested in getting to know the other person.