As personal events come to the fore again, we want to share three tips for overcoming the networking rust. the best part? You can apply them right away! They include understanding some of the basic body language cues and the psychology of human behavior. Here are our suggestions:
- look at the feet
It can be nerve-racking to approach two people in a conversation. You’re basically obstructing and it’s sometimes hard to tell whether people in the conversation are welcoming or want you to beat it. Here a simple body language cue can make a big difference.
When approaching two people in conversation, pay attention to how they position their bodies. In particular, take a look at their feet. If they turn their feet towards you and open the floor, they want you to join. If they only turn their torso towards you, they may not want you to engage in the conversation.
- avoid the middle
When you want to make a memorable effect, take advantage of the serial position effect.
serial status effect A term coined by the German psychologist Hermann Ebbinghaus. Through his studies, he found that people tend to remember things first (priority) and last (recession), and rarely in between. The graph below shows the chronological position effect in recalling a list of words.
However, this psychological effect can be applied to many things – from job interviews to television commercials.
During your next networking function, approach strategic prospects at the beginning or end of the networking event. They are more likely to miss you and miss the conversation. If you want to be remembered, don’t interrupt! This will make your follow-up much easier.
- give a compliment
When meeting someone new, your aim is to build a connection and be likable. There are many factors that influence your choice, but one way to speed up the process is to give a compliment. According to a study by Professor Norihiro Sadato from Japan, a leading researcher on the psychology of compliments, “receiving a compliment is as much a social reward as receiving money.” Yes money!
During your next networking event, add genuine compliments to each conversation. Maybe it’s a nice pair of shoes, a tie, or their kids – just keep it real. We live in a world full of criticism and everyone appreciates a genuine compliment.
Kevin Nichols is a partner with Ochslee, a firm specializing in research, training and creative services for the financial services industry. @kevinnicholes www.oechsli.com