Prepare For That First Impression Before You Need It!
You’re going to network, right? You’re going to dialog with strangers that may become colleagues, prospects, clients, audiences, even friends. You’re going to do this face to face, in digital or print, on the phone, in front of ad hoc or planned groups and even large audiences.
Your career success relies on your communications skills!
Actually, it’s been long considered that 75% of a person’s compensation is based on their communication skills.
So, have you noticed how many people are great engagers of others, and how many aren’t? Have you seen people in an audience stop using their smart devices to pay attention to a speaker and in other settings see people focus only on their smart devices?
And, be honest, how would you measure your own skills, and in which settings?
Are you prepared for any discussion, any time, anywhere and on any subject?
Here’s a trick that can help you punch up your skills before you feel like you just took a punch in the gut for not being ready.
Snap, Crackle, Pop – Before, During, After – Past, Present, Future
- Outline a list of topics you may have to discuss in the future. These can be anything from current events, history, your line of business, a prospect’s problems, whatever you want – just outline a list of topics, shoot for ten.
- For each topic on the list, outline a “past” “present” and “future” question.
- Practice the questions until they become a habit (note: through research and practice, I calculated that it takes me 91 tries to change or create a habit)
- Challenge your development of the habit – can you jump into any discussion, answer any question, in any individual or group discussion and on any topic? (hint – this will take practice; 91 tries took me 13 weeks)
- When you think you have those ten topics down, do another ten, and then another – you will know you’re prepared to make the kind of impression you want to make in any setting – when you’re ready!
You will likely attend a mixer of some sort, with colleagues, clients, prospects, fellow club members, whatever.
At some point you will have the opportunity to establish an impression.
First, simply ask the others in the group a question about the past. For example, “that’s interesting, can you share some of the history of how that developed?
Second, move your question forward to the present with, “Ah, I see, so that’s how you determined the steps you’re taking today; tell me, how are today’s circumstances stacking up against those earlier stages?”
Third, future “…and how do you see this changing over the course of time, say the next five years?”
Practice will turn you into the most prepared conversationalist, speaker, engager – anywhere.
Good luck out there!