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Networking tip 10: First impressions

If you want to expand your network, this inevitably means at some point "working a room" and doing this well depends on making a positive first impression. You convey who you are (your personal brand) the moment you enter a room, so remind yourself in advance of what you’re trying to project and make any necessary adjustments to mood or appearance. Body language and voice make up a big part of first impressions, so on entering a room concentrate first on maintaining good posture, exhibiting relaxed alertness, and communicating a warm and friendly tone. You want to convey feel-good factors: positivity, smiles, energy, and enthusiasm. Invoking those things will create the right chemistry for a high-impact impression.

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Networking tip 5: Use your people skills

The first place to start in cultivating your network is to concentrate on the number-one rule of human desire: Make others feel important and appreciated.

Second, be generous with your time and your efforts; think about how you can help the people in your network. This is not about keeping score (“Gosh, how they’ll owe me for this one!”)—instead, it’s a mindset you should apply to every person in your network—not just people you think might one day prove useful, but everyone. This is partly because business isn’t the be-all and end-all of a happy life, and partly because you want your networking skills to become instinctive, which will not happen if you choose to be selective about whom you treat well.

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