I have recently discovered – err… re-discovered how crucial it is to be mindful, listening and present in every given social situation. Today I’m going to examine when networking and meeting new people!
Here’s my guide to Becoming The Best Human Ever. And It starts with just listening. You may be surprised at how easy these things are to do, yet we all seem to slip up from time to time. If you follow these three simple guidelines, I personally guarantee success will come your way.
- Be on time – Punctuality is more than just being where you said you would be at the given time. It’s about being prepared when you’re there, and it’s also about being ready for the unexpected. Taking into account all of (or at least most of) the situations that could throw a proverbial wrench into your plan. I’ve been late before. It’s not the end of the world though. Own it. You were late. Make it up with an award winning performance or service. Make sure the people you’re late for know that was not your intention. They’ve likely been on your side of things, so if you just own the situation, you’ll command much more respect in the long run. But, try your best to avoid having to do that and just schedule your day appropriately. There’s nothing worse than someone who doesn’t value my time. That tells me, as a professional, they feel as though theirs is worth more. No dice from me. So I’d expect the same thing. Be on time.
- Remember names – Simple, right? Well, I thought so too, until I found myself in a situation where I totally blanked on the Big Wig Producer’s wife’s name. Thankfully, before I was exposed, another person happened to mention her name subtly and I said it a million times in my head so I wouldn’t goof up when asked. But seriously, don’t forget names! It’s one of those things that can make or break you as a professional. Especially in my industry. If you take the time to get to know someone by first name, especially in an industry where you may see a ton of folks, you will stand out when you catch them at the next gala and can introduce your date to them BY THEIR FIRST NAME. It shows them that you actually gave a damn, they made a mark and that will make just about anyone feel pretty good.
- Remember what kind of coffee key stakeholders drink – Okay, okay. Before you all get bent out of shape…Figure of speech everyone. When networking and meeting up with folks, oftentimes I found it similar to the dating world. You’re looking to win over the other party’s heart/business. How can you do that? Well, simple really. You’ll wanna pay close attention here (and maybe if you’re single you can translate this into your own dating game plan!) because if you goof it up it can be catastrophic.
First off, I got myself a little agenda/day planner with a notes section to help me out. I used to manage employment for a big fitness chain here in Canada, GoodLife Fitness. Being part of the People Department for that great organization was challenging to say the least. Oftentimes I was in the middle of “damage control” between hiring managers and employees and I often had to have tough conversations with managers. One of the first things I learned to help my situation in conflict resolution, was get out of the office mentality per se. You have to build a relationship somewhere and I found that in a stuffy environment or on the managers “home turf”, bigger problems could arise. So, I took my stakeholders out for a “coffee”. Prior to this date I would crack small talk and casually ask if they were a coffee drinker, 9 times out of 10 they were and then that eased my way into “oh great, what do you take in yours? I’ve been trying to do the black coffee thing for a week or two…” Not one manager ever really picked up on my casual “pick up line” and I jotted down their answer in my little book next to their title and name… a cheat sheet, of sorts.
Why? For next time. How powerful would it be when you have a crucial confrontation with a manager or any peer for that matter and you can immediately get them to leave their ego or drop their guard or whatever you want to call it by simply showing up with the coffee that you remembered from weeks if not months ago…?
There you have it. My three key pointers for Becoming The Best Human Ever. Remember folks, you don’t have to be a rock star to start. But you have to start in order to become that rock star.