Have you ever had a stranger befriend you? For example, you’re waiting in line at a coffee shop or getting your oil changed, and you strike up a conversation with a complete stranger that ends up being more like a close friend? It’s not uncommon for us to meet likeable people and instantly feel like we’re good friends. What’s less common, however, is the understanding of what makes these people so enjoyable. Off the top of your head, you might say you like people more if they smile or shake your hand politely—in other words, if they perform the pleasantries that you’re well acquainted with. However, these people often also do unexpected things that draw you to them.
If you want to learn five unconventional tricks that will make you more likable at your next networking event, read on.
If you’ve heard that you should wear a bright color to a tryout or a memorable tie to a job interview, you’ve heard of “peacocking.” Like a male peacock attracts mates by displaying his feathers, humans can also change up their appearance or make something about themselves unique to attract others.
Although many do this by wearing an over-the-top piece of clothing, this shouldn’t be the case at a networking event—as it might leave a bad impression on a potential connection. Instead, attract others with sound business card etiquette. Ensure you have a unique card that conveys who you are, what you do and why you’re relevant.
Network for Them
If you’re at an event, you likely are there with a concrete purpose in mind. Although it’s important to have a networking purpose that can help drive conversations, you should never lose sight of the bigger picture for your personal benefit. What does this mean, exactly? Well, if you’re looking for a new investor, you might want to consume all of the potential investor’s time so they are unable to meet with others who might pique their interest.
This shouldn’t be the case, though, because people love other people who help them network. Instead of cornering your prospect, see if you can introduce them to other connections that might be useful to them. If you do this successfully, both parties will see you as more generous and helpful, making them more likely to give you the new job or investment you are networking to achieve.
At a networking event, someone’s perception of you can make all the difference. This makes your conversations all the more important.
One little-known way to positively influence the way people see you is to compliment someone else. In psychology, this is called spontaneous trait transference. When you compliment another person, everyone who hears the compliment is more likely to associate the positive claims with you.
Discuss Shared Values
Opposites can attract initially, but it’s those with shared values that forge lasting business relationships. Shared values help new contacts feel that they have a better understanding of who you are and how your relationship might progress.
In order to connect on shared values, you can ask open-ended questions that will help you gain a better understanding of another’s values. Although this is an organic and genuine way to connect, if you’re not well-versed in the art of conversation, it can be a bit challenging.
A more foolproof way to discover another’s values is to view their LinkedIn and other business information before meeting them. Although this might seem to be an extraneous task, you’ll be amazed by how much you can glean and then use in conversation to leave a lasting impression.
Create an Intent to Follow-Up
If you follow the steps above, you’ll be positioned to leave an impression, but what’s next? Although your new connections might remember you, without a clear conversation about what both parties can expect moving forward, it’s likely that the hustle and bustle of everyday life will take over and your connection will fall to the wayside.
Instead of allowing time to create more distance between you, ask the new contact what their schedule is like. Once you know when they’re free, see if you can schedule a call or arrange a time to get coffee.
The most important thing to remember when networking is that you can be likable and memorable—if you stand out. If you’re ready to leave your next networking event with a handful of useful new connections, employ the techniques above.
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Lucas Miller is a freelance blogger, content marketer and advocate for what he likes to call, “Editorial Entrepreneurship.” When not working to strengthen Echelon Copy and Green Splatter, he’s busy reading, writing or running alongside the Wasatch Mountains in Provo, Utah. Also, for what it’s worth, he claims to have an incredible head of hair.