There’s a huge amount of business today conducted online. We’ve got Facebook Ads to promote our new products, Twitter to share interesting articles, and LinkedIn to build our network. All of these platforms can be lucrative for your business, but no matter how “online” you are, at some stage you’ll have to meet in-person with clients, teammates, or investors.
It’s during these in-person meetings where your skills in business etiquette and social etiquette will count.
Connecting with others in-person is not a forgotten art. All you have to do is tap into the basics of human interaction and manners that I’m sure you possess.
To reconnect with these valuable interpersonal skills, and connect better with potential clients or investors, I want to share with you these four tips drawn straight from my business etiquette training modules.
1. Put Effort Into Your Outfit
When you put effort into your outfit, it tells the other person that you care about yourself, and you care about them. How would you feel if you invited somebody over for dinner and they walked into your house wearing ripped shorts and flip-flops? You’d probably think they don’t respect you enough to dress properly. So the next time you have a business meeting planned, make sure your outfit shows how much you care. If a suit is not standard in your industry, put on a pair of tailored pants instead. You can always lift your image with a coloured belt, vibrant shoes, or your favourite piece of signature jewellery.
2. Use a Welcoming Handshake
Your handshake can say so much about who you are and how you feel about the other person. If your handshake is not strong, the other person can quickly assume you’re not confident or you’re not interested in getting to know them. If your handshake is too firm, they can easily think you’re overpowering or dominant. Finding the right balance takes practice. So for a welcoming handshake, be sure to connect with web-to-web contact, grasp the other person’s hand fully (without crushing their bones), and shake 2-3 times before you let go. Using this technique, you’re on your way to a welcoming handshake.
3. Use Warm Eye Contact
If you’ve ever been in a conversation with somebody and they were looking over your shoulder or had that glazed look across their eyes, you’ll understand how important eye contact is when you’re trying to connect with somebody else. So how do you achieve warm and authentic eye contact? It’s easy. Try to identify the colour of the other person’s eyes. While you’re doing this, think of a dream holiday, perhaps on a warm, tropical island. Your face will become relaxed and your eye contact will look genuine and warm. A smile will help too, of course!
4. Remember the Other Person’s Name
Every time I meet somebody new and I hear them use my name in conversation, I’m always surprised and immediately touched. It’s not often people remember your name. In fact, most people I train always have difficulty remembering names. But it’s really not that hard if you find the right technique that works for you. The best technique I’ve found is to repeat the other person’s name as soon as they’ve said it, and then use it 2-3 times in conversation, or as much feels natural. If you’re more of a visual person, you might prefer to associate their name with an object. For example, Jan Brooks could remind you of a brook, or a gently flowing stream.
Connecting with others in-person is not a forgotten art. All you have to do is tap into the basics of human interaction and manners that I’m sure you possess. Try these tips at your next in-person meeting–I would love to know how it works out for you.
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Kara Ronin is the founder of Executive Impressions. Her unique perspectives have been featured in publications, such as TIME Inc., Business Insider India, and The Local France. Get Kara’s insights straight to your inbox and her free gift here. You can also connect with Kara on Facebook.