Relationship development skills are typically built over time. Next time you run into someone who appears to handle social events well, ask them how they do it so well. Most likely they will tell you that their skill was built over time.
If you feel that you are still refining your relationship development skills, then consider the following 5 approaches for your next social engagements. See how these will help you.
5 Approaches for Social Engagements
• Display confidence
• Ask discovery questions about others
• Look people in the eye
• Shake hands firmly
• Be authentic and intentional
People feed off of the energy given off by others. Whether you are experiencing a tough day or the most relaxed day of the year, how you present yourself to the world will be how it responds to you.
Ask Discovery Questions About Others
People love to talk about themselves. And while this is true, this isn’t the main reason to ask questions. Ask discovery questions as a way to learn information you can reference in the future.
When you can learn about others, do so. Then mentally note this, or better yet, log the high points in your personal database of contacts. At first logging and remembering information can seem silly, but over time as you start to be able to put this to good use, you will begin to see the value in doing this.
Look People in the Eye
When you look people in the eye you convey a sense of confidence and trust. This is quite useful during business negotiations and meetings. When you need to hammer home a point in a deal, how well you show your confidence can determine whether or not there is push back. The same level of confidence goes a long way during an initial introduction as well.
Shake Hands Firmly
Ok. This is the one piece of advice that you need to be sure and listen to. When you shake someone’s hand, do so firmly. Typically the handshake is used during the introduction and at the final part of any discussion or meeting. A firm handshake is your way to start and finish any interaction displaying your sense of confidence and position.
Firm does not mean gripping the other person’s hand until they turn red in the face and they sound out a yelp. As you start to engage in the handshake, if you are paying attention, you will be able to increase or decrease your level of firmness based on the other person’s as well.
I think a whole book could be written on the handshake alone, but this should suffice for now.
Be Authentic and Intentional
In order to be authentic and intentional you must start out fully engaged. One of the quickest things someone else will pick up on is if your mind is drifting elsewhere. When you speak with someone, look them in the eye, listen to what they are saying, and correspond with them. Do all of this without drifting away or glancing around the room to see who else is there.
Intentional is easy too. There is a big difference between casual laid-back engagement and focused engagement. Meeting a friend for coffee in the middle of the afternoon, your approach is probably going to be light hearted and laid back. You are probably going to be crowd watching and much of your conversation might even be about this. However, if you are in a business setting or you have just met someone new, focus your attention on this person and engage deeply in what they are talking about.
The 5 approaches listed above offer a good foundation to work on in your upcoming social engagements. Don’t worry if you cannot remember each approach. Over time these will be instinctive and almost second nature. If you can focus on all 5- great! If not, pick 2 and then keep plugging away at them until they become second nature. No matter how natural they seem, it will take intentional practice before they become truly instinctive.
Until our paths cross again,