If you are attending an event for the purposes of networking the chances are that you will want to convert those new contacts into business. Granted not all contacts made are a good fit for doing business but that doesn’t mean that the effort was not productive, personal referrals, endorsements or introductions carry a lot of weight with a first contact.
So if you are not naturally charismatic, how do you make yourself more memorable, trustworthy and likeable during a brief contact at a function?
Remember their name
Not just that, but use it often when talking to your new contact. People like hearing their own names and will like you more for using their names and will pay greater attention to what you are saying. The repetition of the name will also lock it into your long-term memory for easy retrieval the next time you meet.
Capture their attention
This is not to say that you should crowd the person and make them feel uncomfortable because you are inside their personal space. Just make sure that you are making contact – eye contact and if it is appropriate a light touch on the arm or shoulder can amplify your conservation points.
Use your expressions when chatting – smile, frown but make sure that you are not sending mixed signals with expressions that are borderline or that only a micro-expression specialist could truly pick up.
Being expressive also aids the previous point. If you are more expressive verbally, facially and physically a light touch will not seem out of character as compared to a stiff who suddenly lunges at you like a Frankenstein monster.
Listen to what they are saying
Don’t just keep quiet waiting until the moment you can start talking again. This may be a bit radical… but make an effort to use the time when someone else is talking to actually listen to what they are saying. Have empathy with them and try to put yourself in their shoes so you can understand them better. Most important is to remember what they said and next meeting you can show how well you listened by bringing up points from the previous conversation.
If you leave your new contact having made them feel a bit brighter for the time spent with you, you will be remembered more kindly and you will have achieved a new level of charisma.