Modern Etiquette: At business meetings, impressions are important

Sun Oct 12, 2014 7:16pm EDT
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By Pamela Eyring

(Reuters) - According to James Uleman, PhD, a psychology professor at New York University and researcher on impression management, “In spite of the congeniality of many professional gatherings, judgments are being made and impressions formed at all times.”

For that reason, it’s important to make sure that you project a positive, professional image at every moment. In particular, it’s important to enter and integrate into the gathering in a manner that’s calm and confident. Equally important is the impression you leave upon parting.

Here are my tips for successfully building your reputation and network at your next professional gathering.

1. Be prepared: Before attending an event, be clear as to what the purpose of the event is, who is attending, and what you have to contribute to the conversation. Give consideration to what others might want to know about you and your business, so you’ll be better equipped to answer and anticipate any potential questions.

2. Make yourself welcome: When you enter an event, look for groups of people who appear comfortable and at-ease. Approach a group, make eye contact, then smile and ask, “May I join you?” You should wait to be invited before actually moving into the group.

3. Connect with confidence: When you join a group, shake hands with each person and introduce yourself clearly by saying your first and last name while making eye contact. When they state their name, state it back to them, as in, “Nice to meet you Pamela.” Doing this with each individual will help you remember their names later.

4. Find common ground: When making conversation, connect first on a social level. If you build a good rapport with others it will naturally lead to business discussions later. Avoid pushing business and stick to soft topics such as the weather, where others are from, the location of the meeting, etc.   Continued...