About two weeks ago I was in Dallas, Texas at an event called FinCon with some of my friends from here in Tampa. Some of the things I noticed at this event was how many people didn’t know HOW to network, let alone grasp basic people skills.
- Bad breath or body odor: This is why I carry gum and mints with me no matter where I go. It’s for me, but it’s also for other people
- Close talkers: Also known as “space invaders”, it’s a good idea to keep a respectful amount of distance between you and other people you’re talking to. No one’s going to think you’re rude if you don’t invade their personal bubble.
- Talking too much: I confess, one reason I have a podcast is that I get to talk as much as I want without anyone interrupting. However, in the real world, this doesn’t fly. You need to make sure you’re listening more than you’re talking, especially in negotiations. Be aware of how much you’re talking and make it a goal to learn something new from every conversation you have.
- Weak handshakes: People do judge you by your handshake. You don’t need to have a power struggle and break the other person’s hand, but you also need to use SOME pressure. This applies to both ladies and gentlemen; a good handshake will take you far.
- No eye contact: If you can’t look someone in the eye, they’re going to think you’re being less than honest. It makes you seem like you can’t be trusted which is a turn-off for a lot of people. Practice with yourself in a mirror or your cell phone to get used to looking people in the eyes.
- Interrupting others while they’re talking: This is something we all do, unfortunately. We need to be aware if we’re only listening to respond. What this means is that you’re not REALLY listening or comprehending, just waiting for an opening to jump in. This is CRITICAL to remember when you’re negotiating or closing a deal.
- Poor dressing habits: I know some of you have a budget and I’m not expecting you out to go buy Armani suits. However, when you’re networking or at an event, you need to dress for the occasion. If you’re in camouflage shorts and still have last night’s dinner on your face, you don’t look like you can take care of yourself, let alone large sums of money. Dress cleanly and appropriately for whatever event you’re in.
- Lack of punctuality: ALWAYS BE ONE TIME. It’s not that difficult! Make sure that you arrive early: early is on time, on time is late, late is a deal blown. Fashionably late isn’t real, it’s rude and inconsiderate.
- Poor grammar: We all went to school so this shouldn’t be an issue. Make sure when you write that it makes sense. This also means don’t try to talk too “high”, or with a lot of big words. It sounds pretentious and is a turn-off. You definitely need to do spell and grammar checks for any marketing materials you’re going to make.
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