By: Katie Speice, @katiespeice
Networking can be a daunting, dreaded aspect of public relations if one isn’t wired to love the flirty thrill of face-to-face communication. It is inevitable that a public relations professional is going to experience hand to hand, face to face, good, old-fashioned networking at some point in his or her career. However, increasing relationships on social media, and frequent online business, has left aspiring young professionals with sweaty handshakes and quivering voices when networking. I’ve scoured my favorite etiquette guides and tapped into the psyche of seasoned network pros to gather some tips and tricks of the trade.
Networking requires strong body language and communication. No matter how impressive your resume may be, you need to hone in on your best presentation and people skills According to psychologist Albert Mehrabrian, these are the key factors in a first impression:
- 55% Nonverbal communication (body language and appearance)
- 38% Vocal Quality
- 7% Words
Business introductions should be made based on the hierarchy of the relationship. If Mrs. Smith is the CEO and her employee Mr. Jones is introducing Ms. Hays, a new employee, the introduction should resemble: “Good morning Mrs. Smith (CEO). I’d like to introduce to you Ms. Hays, a new employee in our marketing department. Mrs. Smith is our new CEO.” You should always address authority figures first and introduce others to them. The word you should follow to. Hence: “I’d like to introduce to you.”
- Always stand up to shake the hand of the person you’re greeting. The only exception is if you are physically unable to do so due to personal or environmental reasons. This shows respect and attention for the person you’re greeting.
- Remain engaged eye contact with you person you’re speaking to. Fail to do so, and you can appear uninterested and untrustworthy.
- To best remember a new name be alert when the name is first introduced in the conversation. Then try to use the name frequently in your networking conversations. This will help with your retention. If you happen to forget the name, it is okay to something like, “I apologize but I’m a little forgetful at the moment; please remind me of your name.”
To ensure smooth and intelligent conversations keep up to date on all current affairs and pop culture. This way you can easily bring into conversation, “What do you think of . . .” If you want to make the news, you have to know the news.
- Master the art of listening. When you intently listen to others it makes you seem genuine and encourages open conversation.
- Make sure to let the other person finish talking before you add your two cents.
- Feel out a conversation to see when it is naturally coming to an end. As it draws to a close, include a few comments of appreciation or a closing comment on an already mentioned topic from your conversation. This way you ensure a concrete end to a conversation and leave it on a good foot.