You’re bound to come to point in your life where you’re facing a person you’ve never really talked to before but probably should whether it’s because they can offer you a job or just because you love their shoes and would like to become friends. The problem is though, that in our world of mobile phones and the ability to simply ignore a message if it’s too awkward to respond to, we’ve found it even more difficult to build a connection face to face as opposed to before.
I recently went to an inspirational 3 days business conference that featured keynotes from powerful people in the industry and lots of professionals that are integral to making big companies successful. This knowledge of course, although made me want to speak to them, also greatly intimidated me since sure, you want to talk to them… buthow and about what?
TIP #1: ATTAIN A TARGET
That’s what my marketing professor told us, but it’s not just for when you’re selling a brand, it’s also applicable when you’re selling yourself. Don’t try to talk to every person in the room if you don’t know them unless you’re simply trying to be the centre of attention. If you’d like to build a connection, try to find someone you really want to talk to and ask yourself why:
Does this person have something you like? Can this person help you get something you want like a job or something? Are you trying to make friends in a place you don’t know anyone?
Or simply all of the above, but figure out what your purpose of speaking to them is, because you should know what you’re vision is if there is something you’d like from building the relationship not just to save yourself time, but also the other person.
TIP #2: PITCH YOURSELF IN AN ELEVATOR
Let’s say you’ve always dreamed of designing Louis Vuittons and you’re staying at a really cool hotel, and while going up to your floor, you find yourself in the elevator with Michael Burke, the CEO of Louis Vuitton. Do you talk to him and find out if you’re capable enough to get the job?
If you’re able to convince him you’re good enough in the 30 seconds it’ll take before you two part your ways, you have your elevator pitch ready.If you don’t, however, don’t worry, you can still come up with one for the next time you bump into him.
What an elevator pitch comprises of is basically telling the other person basically everything you want them to know in about 30 seconds. Since the time is so short, you’ll have to be picky about the information you portray across, and make sure it’s still sufficient enough to sell yourself.
TIP #3: TALK. TALK. TALK.
FIRE THAT SMILE
If someone else is there in the same room as you, possibly for the same purpose as you, like networking or waiting in the elevator, you can already relate to them, or know that they’re there to build a connection just like you! So go up to them and introduce yourself with a smile and come up with one or two things you could potentially talk about before you start.
For instance, if it’s another person you don’t know anything about and both of you are in the same place, you could try to talk about how and why both of you are in the same place and introduce yourself and ask them about themselves. If it’s in a more professional setting, you can try to speak to them about their job and how their week has been and tell them about your own experiences – but make sure it’s not just about the job, ask them about their favourite sport, their movie, or what they do in their free time, not many people like to work even when they’re not supposed to be!