Business Etiquette Tips for creating the prefect first impression
Networking in business can make many quake in their boots. But some of the biggest deals in the world have been formed over a networking lunch. Confidence is the key to networking and here are my top tips to help you navigate business networking etiquette.
Never underestimate the power of the first impression. Dress impeccably, first impressions really do count and there is truth in the old saying ‘Dress for the job you want, not the job you have’. Your clothing and how you present yourself makes a huge statement about who you are, and where you want to go. Personal style can play a big part in career progression.
Your handshake is very important, be the first to extend your hand, it shows you are leading the way. Look the recipient in the eye and give a firm handshake. Introduce yourself to people with your full name and company and ask theirs. Keep eye contact, when you first meet and during your conversation. These are signs of good character and will make a great first impression.
Listen. At networking events, or meeting new clients, listen more than you talk. Always ask questions, engage and take in what people have to say. Pick up ques and remember details that you can mention again in the conversation, such as names, where they work or how many children they have. This shows you are genuinely interested.
Even though it can be daunting, work the room. Make sure you mingle and talk to people you don’t know. Don’t be afraid to join in on an already formed group. Networking events are created for that purpose, so use it to their full advantage, you never know who you may meet. Start conversations, ask people what company they are from, what are they hoping to get out of today’s event, ask them about their business.
Hand out and ask for business cards. Then after the event, drop your new contact an email to say it was nice to meet them and if they ever need anything to contact you, or suggest meeting for a coffee. Add every contact you meet to your database, you never know when you might need it.
At a networking lunch or business meeting in a restaurant, remember your table manners. Work from the outside in with cutlery. Don’t drink too much, or at lunch stick to water, or soft drinks. When you’ve finished your meal, place your knife and fork together in the centre of the plate. Never cross them, crossed knives are bad luck and an insult in some countries.
When at a networking event or in company and you have to take a call, keep it short and sweet. No one wants to listen to your loud 20minute conversation. In fact, Put the phone DOWN! Let it go to voicemail. It is always rude to pay more attention to your phone, than a real person.
Old fashion politeness is simple, ‘please’ ‘thank you’ and ‘hello, nice to meet you,’ go a long way.
Punctuality. Always be on time for a meeting, or for a networking event. It shows you value that person, company.
If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all. Don’t talk badly of others, in your industry or through your contacts. It will only cast you in a bad light and associate you with negativity.
Watch your social media. Prospective employers and business contacts are very likely to ‘google you’ and if all they find is pictures of you drunk and acting inappropriately, it is not going to look good. Set all your social media accounts to private, but create a professional LinkedIn account and professional Facebook page for work only. Never say something on the internet (social media, blogs or comments) that you wouldn’t say to someone’s face. It is there forever!
Have you heard the saying ‘A gentleman is his word’? A real gentleman, keeps his word, whether in business, in a relationship, or with friends. If you say you are going to do something, do it. If you make a verbal business agreement, stick to it. Don’t back out of an agreement because it is not ‘on paper’.
Stephen Handisides is an international TV presenter, model, journalist and an all-round expert on Aesthetic Beauty and Male Grooming. Stephen is the host of ‘The Modern Face of Beauty’ series which will be broadcast on 52 local and national television networks in the US reaching 44 million households. He is regular expert commentator in the UK on ITV’s This Morning, GMTV, Lorraine, OK! TV, Five, Sky News, and BBC radio. Stephen writes for over twenty major newspapers, trade and consumer magazines, with five regular columns focusing on the trends in lifestyle aesthetics and male grooming. He also hosts and produces Sky TV’s MyFaceMyBody and is the brains behind the Global Aesthetic Awards, held in London, LA and Sydney.
For more information, check out Stephen Handisides on the web:
My Face My Body’s Facebook @myfacemybody
Modern Male Mindset Facebook @modernmalemindset
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