How to Fake Being a People Person
The truth is, first impressions matter. Not everyone takes joy from meeting new people and making new connections, but it’s important to start each new relationship with your best foot forward. Even if you don’t consider yourself to be a “people person,” with a little help everyone has the ability to present themselves as one. Being a people person doesn’t have to mean that you like talking with all kinds of people, just that you’re capable of doing it when you need to. Simply put, it’s pivotal that you always strive to make a good impression and be nice. No matter what industry you are in, you never know when you’ll need someone or they will need you.
If you were to ask a hiring manager what they wanted in a new hire, there are certain qualities that would almost always pop up: hard worker, nice, focused, etc. While these qualities will shift depending on the job, it’s safe to say that most hiring managers are looking for a good person who will do good work. These same qualities are important in every aspect of life and business when you meet someone new–meeting your S.O.’s parents, meeting your neighbors, meeting your newest client. That’s why at InnoVision, we embrace consistency and want all of our team members to have a real brand they believe in, so they carry it through all aspects of their life.
In order to stand out from every other nice, hard-working person, (and to be the ultimate people person,) it’s important to cultivate your personal brand. Your personal brand is all about what makes you unique, and it’s why adding you to a team is different than choosing another person with your same qualifications. Branding is not any one thing: it is everything. Make “personal brand” into “human brand™.” If a person were to walk away only knowing a few things about you, what would you want those few things to be?
What would be written on the side of your cereal box? Figure out your values, your brand, and find a way to communicate it to everyone you meet. Here at InnoVision, we like to say that any brand is 360 degrees of 360 degrees – it’s all-encompassing. If branding is something you want to work on at your company, find out about our motivating, interactive workshop here.
UCLA research has shown that only 7% of communication is based on the actual words we say. Meanwhile, 38% of communication comes from tone of voice, and a whopping 55% comes from body language. When more than half of what you communicate comes from what your body is saying, it’s vital that you’re saying the right things.
While most people will probably not care if your elbows are up on the table, crossed arms and slumping back into your chair are hard to ignore. Your body language will communicate how interested you are and how much attention you are paying to the conversation much more clearly than you think. Make eye contact. Keep your arms relaxed and open. As tempting as it is to jiggle your leg during a long meeting, be strong and resist. Even if you’re not much of a talker, your body will do most the communicating for you.
Prepare what you want to say in advance
While some of us are skilled in the art of thinking things up as we go along, others are not. However, if you are able to prepare what you want to say in advance and go in with that in mind, it will make it that much easier to appear like you have this whole giving-a-speech-off-the-cuff thing down.
Be careful not to rehearse what you want to say too much, or they may come off as stiff or impersonal. Instead, focus on memorizing the major points you want to touch on and let yourself explain them naturally in the moment. If you’re struggling with how to explain a certain point, try to practice with someone else beforehand and explain it to them like they know nothing about your topic. Knowing what you want to say is different than knowing how you’re going to say it, so take a breath.
Dress for success
Remember that ad where the guy goes in for the interview, and even though he’s saying intelligent things, all you can hear is the yelling from the stain on his shirt? Yeah, it’s like that.
Dressing for success does not mean one specific style or article of clothing. It means wearing clothing that you are comfortable in, that helps you put your best foot forward. Imagine every time you leave the house, that you will bump into that really important client and know that what you are wearing will communicate to them much faster than your words will. We’re not saying throw out your favorite pair of ratty jeans–we all need a pair of those. But when you’re in the office, dress for the job you want to have, not necessarily the job you do.
Make real connections
LinkedIn is more than a pretty blue website–it’s a source for reinforcing connections you make who could very well assist your career later. However, there are definitely varying levels of usefulness to all your LinkedIn connections. The professional you met at a conference, with whom you debated the pros and cons of a new element of your industry? Helpful. The random person who added you out of the blue, whose only mutual connection is some guy you went to college with? Not so helpful.
Moreover, making real connections with people who you value the insights and opinions of puts you in a place to learn from their experience and grow. Essentially, always strive to be a good person and use your skill set to be the true brand that you want to show to the world because you never know when or where you may make a connection
If you need someone to be your resident people person, here at InnoVision there are a lot of us. Send us an email today to ask how we can work together.
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