This holiday season, there are a lot of parties.  Lots of chances for networking.  Lots of chances for making amazing or awful first impressions.  These quick tips will help you be in the amazing category:

  • Stand up straight.  People associate good posture with confidence.  the other side effect is that it will actually detract from whatever it is you are hiding.  (In many women’s cases, a self consciousness over their female parts.  Ironically, standing up straight makes it less noticeable).  The other bonus for good posture:  less physical pain at the end of the night.
  • Don’t say the word literally unless you mean literally.  It means that something actually happened, word for word.  Many people use it to mean figuratively and there’s a HUGE backlash against it.  I’m constantly surprised when people I find BRILLIANT use it.
  • Don’t raise your pitch at the end of every sentence.  This is something that women are more often guilty of, but I’ve come across some men who do it, too.  It sounds like you’re asking questions all the time.  It makes people question if you know what you’re talking about.
  • Don’t make assumptions.  Yes, they make an ass out of you and me.  Bu they can also cause offense.  If you think someone is into something, ask them.  And if you’re wrong, ask them more about themselves.
  • Ask people about themselves versus just talking about yourself.  Everyone likes to engage a conversation and feel interesting.
  • Ask people something lightly personal, not just about their work.  Good examples include:  How did you get into that field?  Where are you from originally?  What area of this city do you live in?  Wrong questions:  Who are you dating?  Why are you single?  What’s wrong with you?  etc.
  • Be careful of tone.  In some circles it’s cool to sound condescending (say your college sorority meetings).  In others, it’s not cool to sound negative in any way.  It makes you look like you’re closed off.  People like to network with open people.

Hopefully these short tips will help you have a happy networking holiday season!