6 ways to boost your initial interactions and leave a lasting impression.
You wouldn’t ever ask someone ‘hey, please will you be my best friend’? It would be weird, creepy and you’d probably push that person away by asking a question like that. The reality is people want to spend time with people they trust and like being around. With the exception of asking for a hand in marriage the same question won’t fit with any kind of relationship, in both your personal life and in business. Usually relationships grow organically and it’s hard to pinpoint what keeps you coming back for more. It’s very similar dynamic to compare the spark of chemistry between dating partners wanting more and turning down a cheaper option in your business in favour of working with a more expensive person you can trust.
I couldn’t ever ask a band to only ever work with me for the rest of their career. It wouldn’t work and I don’t, instead I choose to develop great personal relationships that keep my clients coming back. We are wired to want to connect, we are social beings and our evolution has a species depends on it. Being social can be as important as finding food or shelter because a lot of times we actually depend on social interactions to cover our basic needs. Unless you live in a forest, hunt your own food and somehow generate your own battery power and Internet, which I’m guessing you don’t, most creative businesses wouldn’t survive too well in the wilderness. That holds true with your connections with people. So let’s get chatting to stay ahead of our competition!
Obviously we want all relationships to grow in a natural way. From the photographer shooting their portrait subject, to the date we just went on, we want the best outcome from every interaction. Like I said before, trying to force that bond will usually result in the opposite of your intentions. Sometimes it’s better to not try too hard at all, but obviously we have to start somewhere. There are a few things that we can do to nudge the process along and get the results we want when meeting people for the first time. I’ve outlined 6 steps I’ve been using with great success.
- Start off with a smile. Most people tend to look miserable, even if they are actually happy. It’s a complete breath of fresh air to actually meet someone who smiles all the time. Just think about Richard Branson’s face. You never see him not smiling, now think of his money and how many people love him!
- Breathe and take your time. Panicking will shut down your prefrontal cortex, which is the part of the brain where your decision making happens, instead energy will be diverted towards your limbic cortex where your fight or flight will have you bailing out under the pressure.
- Compose your body language in a strong but open way, make sure your head is up, your chest is popped, you’re making eye contact and adding light touch. All these things will identify you has a person worth talking to. No matter what words come out of your mouth, others will think you must know what you’re talking about cause you appear like someone who is in the know.
- You can’t want anything out of this initial interaction other than to add value to someone else’s life. People can smell neediness a mile off. If people get the vibe that you are taking and not giving back, they won’t be generous with their time or partake in the relationship you want to generate. This includes listening to what the other person has to say rather than saying your piece.
- Find common ground in you’re conversation, preferably with unique talking points that will have you standing out from the rest of your competition. Think about what others in your situation will want to talk about and do the opposite. If you have chance to prepare before meeting someone, find out what their interests are and start by talking about that, not your work or agenda! Using good humour is great for this!
- Be willing to set your boundaries and uphold your values. I recently did a talk about ‘speaking up’ where I covered this in more detail. If the other person doesn’t respect what you are all about, they might not be the right person with the right business opportunity for you! R.E.S.P.E.C.T yourself like Aretha.
I’m in the beautiful city of Krakow at the minute working on all these 6 points myself. I’m approaching as many people as possible and getting into flowing conversations and it’s almost like strengthening a muscle. It goes to show that most of the time words don’t mean much in a conversation, I’m sure half the time people over here can’t make sense of my ridiculous accent but somehow we manage to converse for hours on end. I feel like I’m growing has a person because of it. So let’s see you try too!!