By: Tracey Manailescu, Co-founder and VP of WPIC Inc.
Things have definitely changed over the past year and a half, and the way we used to do things have changed right along with it. While we are slowly getting back to interacting with people in real life, we need to be mindful and respectful of those around us, we also need to set up and show our own boundaries and expectations.
Below are some things to consider when you are at your next networking event:
Be aware of non-verbal communication:
- Address the person you are speaking with by name. Mention their name 2-3 times throughout the conversation.
- Be aware of social distancing. Space yourself appropriately to keep you and the person you are speaking with comfortable. If they aren’t respecting these boundaries, tell them, or move along quickly. If you find others are leaving you pretty quickly, than maybe you need to read the first sentence again!
- SMIZE (Smile with your eyes). You might be wearing a mask (especally if it’s indoors) so it’s extra important to look approachable.
- Forget the handshake or a hug. A lot of us aren’t interested in physically touching yet. Especially if we don’t know you well. If you feel like this is rude or going to be awkward, keep your hands busy (hold your purse, a sweater, your business cards, and have a drink of wine, juice or water, or food in the other).
- Have a new and interesting elevator pitch (keep it short, sweet and interestesting).
- Give the person you are speaking with your full attention.
- Ask questions and actively listen. If you’ve met before, they might have changed or revamped their business offerings since you last spoke or saw each other.
- Listen carefully to what “lights them up”.
- Keep it light and as positive as possible. Everyone has gone through “stuff”.
- Make sure you get to speak and share your business updates as well. If not, it’s time to move along. There is simply no time for people who monopolize the entire conversation and focus only on themselves.
- Be you. Be real. Be authentic.
- Always be kind!