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Polishing Your Networking Image By ‘Seeing’ Yourself from Another Perspective

By Traci McBride

The results of Google research on communication show that 35 percent of what we communicate is through our visual appearance, 7 percent is verbal with the words we choose, and 58 percent is through our non-verbal communication (as in our body language and facial expressions).

From my years in sales and after attending hundreds of networking events, I have observed a pattern of personality traits. From that, I developed some basic character styles to best demonstrate these communication traits and to help teach a lesson that we can all learn about ourselves and others.

Please keep in mind that we usually have a combination of all these traits and in different intensities. I am, and always will be, a student of life. If you analyze yourself very honestly and realize your intensity level is way too concentrated in any one character, then, of course, you will want to examine that issue and consciously adjust the belief in yourself that causes the behavior.

So what is your intensity and style?

Not sure? Ask those around you. Not everyone will be able to be completely frank with you, but if you are not reaching success or developing relationships from your networking efforts, then you really need to know why. Here are a few styles:

  1. People Watcher/Wall Flower: This is the person who stands off to the side, not really reaching out but watching everyone around her. She is concentrating on every detail of what others are wearing and how they express themselves.
  2. N-E-X-T!: This is the person who is perfectly comfortable walking up to anyone and evaluating whether they are someone with whom he or she can do business. That judgment can occur within 10 to 30 seconds, and if you don’t make the cut, he will always remember you, smile, and call you by name — but won’t stop to chat since he is concentrating on the fresh blood walking in the door. This is the man (or woman) with a plan. Unfortunately this personality usually doesn’t make many deep connections unless he’s in a business relationship.
  3. Drama Queen: She loves to connect people and usually needs to be the most outspoken at the table as she flutters about having a connection to everyone in some way. The Drama Queen is who we go to when we need an introduction or to have our memories freshened about someone. Drama Queens usually look out for the wallflowers and try to push them along into networking. The one thing a DQ needs and expects is to be acknowledged for the connection. If you forget, she will remember, and you may never get another connection. So beware!
  4. Card Pusher: The one goal of this personality type is to put a business card into every hand possible. These people believe that card pushing is the definition of networking and don’t realize it’s more important to make meaningful connections to other persons.
  5. Settled In: She cases the room to find the best seat to fit all her needs; it’s near an escape route and restrooms, has the best view of the speakers, and is one of the first tables to go up to the buffet. She makes room to put her things, sits down, and waits for the show to start. Oh, and lunch, of course! She then greets familiar faces to join her by saying she has saved them a seat and then proceeds to surround herself by people with whom to chat. She’s happy to meet new faces but prefers them at a distance (like across the table, not next to her).

If you have comments about any of these styles or wonder how you fit in, contact me.

Traci McBride, the chief stylist of TeeMcBee Image Consulting, is dedicated to men and women who are ready to harness the power of their personal image using the most common tool, clothing. She offers support to companies that want to ensure staff at every level communicates the best of themselves and the company brand by elevating and not diminishing the investment of branding.

 

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