As we know, that first impression is made in as little as seven seconds when people are checking us out physically (demeanor, handshake appearance, our-non-verbal signals) which makes it more difficult for someone to remember our name if given immediately. They haven’t quite started “listening” yet. Before we have said a word, judgments can start forming about our own self-image, outlook on life, economic and educational levels, social position, trustworthiness and future success. Sound like a bit much? Yes. Has research proven this to be true? Yes. Sigh! Here are a few quick tips to keep the conversation going in a relationship-building manner:
At business social functions, shyness may be misunderstood as being socially unskilled so try introducing yourself to as many people as possible. Even if you really don’t want to be there, stay at least a half hour and make the rounds before leaving. This can keep you in the winner’s circle by exhibiting a team player attitude and is beneficial for your work and social relationships.
Why is it so hard to remember someone’s name? As mentioned above, during the first seven seconds we meet someone, we are checking them out visually (looking at their clothing (wow, nice, organized or oh no), hair (just get out of bed?), grooming (gardening this morning?) or a myriad of other things) before we start listening…so we aren’t really hearing them! The best way to introduce yourself, particularly in a large group of people you do not know where you have about ten seconds to stand up and sit down, is to say 1) what you do, 2) for whom, 3) then your name. Example: Hi. I provide rapid results programs in professional communication, image and career development with Transformation Academy. My name is Rita…Rocker! Take a slight pause between your first and last name, adding emphasis (giving a little punch) to your last name. By then, the person should be more focused on listening to you versus giving you the visual once-over.
When shaking hands: Women usually offer their hand first but either gender is welcome to initiate the universal greeting of the handshake. Take the other person’s hand with medium pressure, palm to palm, in a vertical hold and pump 2-3 times, leaning slightly forward. If you can tell what color their eyes are when shaking hands, you have completely connected. If someone takes your hand and turns it horizontally (yes, that really happens), just keep smiling and turn it up in a vertical hold again.That keeps you on a more “psychologically” level playing field! Turning your hand horizontally is a silent signal saying they have “the upper hand” and seek to control the direction the conversation will go. Now, go out and enjoy networking. It’s a wonderful way to build new relationships! And one more thing…if you’re shy, seek out those standing alone. They will welcome you gladly.
While talking, stand approximately 18? from them in order to respect their “space.” Only hold your beverage in your left hand so the right one is free to give your impressive handshake. Find out what “they” do first. Ask for their business card first (if you want to give them yours). Find out what kind of connections they are seeking to enhance their business or lives. Erect, positive, confident and engaged demeanor and posture goes a long way in making lasting relationships. Go for it!!
Rita Rocker, International author, speaker, consultant, Transformation Academy, LLC