Have you brought your positive attitude to our review of how to mingle and mix at an event? Then we’ll look at tips to prepare you to go in and sparkle!
Understand yourself and the kind of energy and image you can, and you want to project. The people you will interact with are capable of forming a first impression in a fraction of a second. The human brain processes the messages you send about yourself that fast. What is more noteworthy is that fully 93% of communication – the messages you send – are NON VERBAL. That means your words, whether spontaneous or well chosen, account for only 7% of the information that your conversation partner registers. Body language, tone of voice, gestures and visual information account for the rest of what you are ‘saying’.
Your words, however, count. Words are what ‘sell’ whether it is a product, your service, an idea or your very personal self that you are trying to influence your communication partner to ‘buy’ or accept.
Future columns will examine how to align your gestures, body posture and facial signals with your communication plan. Today, let’s assemble your plan.
Many people find it a challenge to enter a conversation. Some even quake in their well shined shoes before they enter a room. Take your shy, new, singleton or fearful about your language skills self and step into the room. It may hold opportunity! Enter smiling and be natural.
Consider this: you select your clothing and accessories according to the event you are attending. You match your image with the people you want to both impress and blend in with. Why not do the same for your all important conversation?
Helena’s Tips on how to plan your confident step into conversation:
- Ask WHO will be at the event you are attending. Increase your conversational comfort and find out who you will be mingling with. It could be their interests, occupations or even names and preferences for topics.
- List your own strengths and interests. What do you do well? Your skills, passions and hobbies are of more interest to others than simply what you do for a living. If you can share these with others you can expand your social network or help someone else in your chat circles to join you, to organize another event around or to discuss it.
- Offer something interesting and unique about you or your work. It won’t sound like bragging, if you simply present yourself or your work positively or as unique. People will appreciate understanding you and having an insight into what you can or want to talk about. Avoid excessive talk or jargon or giving unwanted advice and you’ll be a hit and your topic of interest.
Some conversation killers to avoid:
– Standing silently waiting for someone to say hello first
– Breaking the ice with super boring questions like, “What do you do?”
– Ending a chat suddenly and worse, on a depressing topic
– Responding with one word answers and not offering any information to help the flow of conversation
– Talking too little and without enthusiasm or talking too much and not listening sincerely
Be natural. Be consistent. Be true to yourself, but do experiment with some flair. Work that room. Smile. Enjoy. Let me know how it goes by dropping me a line.
Up next? The big power of Small Talk. A conversation skill that can make all the difference in connecting you is often a huge challenge, especially for transplants from other places and cultures.
VIP: Very Important Participation note! Got questions, suggestions or challenges you want to see covered in this column? Send them to firstname.lastname@example.org PUT: “Communication Culture” in the subject line. Names will not be published but ALL signed letters will get a PERSONAL reply from Helena.