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Welcome to today’s episode of the show. Today we’re going to be talking more about how to make an executive impression. How to…I mean, well, the way that Kara has described while I’m interviewing it’s… someone walks into a room and you could just sense that they are powerful, they are a leader, they’re someone that people go to, they’re someone that people want to interact with, wants to hire, wants to be around and you might think, “Well, that’s certainly not me. I’m a guy who was in the corner or the woman who no one listens to or no one wants to follow but it’s not, that’s not who you are. That’s just a series of behaviors and patterns that you’re running that produce that result and if you change those behaviors and patterns then you get a different result and people will see you differently, you will see you differently over time and your entire career and all areas of your life will transform over time.
So last week was the first part of the interview, we’ve gotten some really good stuff about those initial impressions that you make from your attire, to your body posture and these really specific basic things. I highly recommend checking that out if you missed that first part, go back and listen to that, then come back to listen to this because we’re going to be getting the second half of the interview. We’re going to look at some super key elements of how to enter a room confidently especially networking kind of situation as well as what to say, if you’ve been in that situation where you walk into the room and there’s like 50 different people, and they’re all in these little pockets of people talking to each other or even 15 people and you have that moment of like, “Ah, what do I do?” How to do that so you’re not awkward, how to enter with confidence? How to make it happen and how to really make an impression and an executive impression that can be useful for your entire career for the rest of your life?
So this is a super value interview, thank you so much I’m glad that Kara, was able to join us for that and get ready to take some notes and apply this in your life. So without further ado, let’s get back into the second half of my interview with Kara Ronin. Okay so I’m standing tall, I’m walking in….would you have any tips for that? So how about that very first moment when I walk into the room and I don’t want to stand there with like a deer on the head lights, confused, uncertain, non-authoritative, don’t work or hire or buy from me-look on my face, so what could I do? What’s like the first action I could do upon entering the room in addition to standing tall and having good eye…but what’s something I could do as an alternative?
Kara: Okay, the first thing when you walk into a room is you walk past the door way, take a couple of steps and just stop and just scan the room. Just look from left to right around the room and what you need to do here is to use the group you’re going to talk with first. And there is a technique to doing this, to choosing the group you’re going to talk with and again it comes back to reading the body language of the people in that group, So what you’d be looking at is a gap in between people or two people who are standing together but their shoulders and feet aren’t directly facing one another, they’re facing a little bit to the side. When you see body language like that you know that those people in that group are open to other people joining them.
I think the biggest problem a lot of people have and the scariest thing when you enter a networking event room especially if you’re by yourself is, “Who am I going to talk to with? What do I do now? How do I start a conversation with somebody?” And by reading the body language of the people in the room you can very quickly choose who is a safe person that you can talk with. There are safe group that you can talk with and the group that will invite you in and welcome you. So as you’re standing tall, as you’re walking into the room, you have good posture, you take a couple of steps, you stop, you scan the room and you choose the group with open body language gestures and go and talk with them.
Dr. Aziz: That’s so great and what you’re…the way you’re describing it is you are looking around the room for the group that you’re going to go talk to, and that is such a…that’s going to communicate in your body language just like, “I am going after what I want. I’m going to initiate something here.” So even while you’re scanning, it has a very different look to it than the, “I don’t know what to do? Who’s going to come, talk to me?”
Kara: Exactly. That’s right. I think what a lot of people do and it’s very tempting to do this and it’s very easy to walk into the room and to head straight for the drink table, look down at the ground, don’t look into the room, don’t look at the crowd, your head straight for the table. But by doing that, the only impression you’re going to give is that you don’t want to talk to other people, that you’re a bit hesitant. That is one of the networking archetypes that I talked about in my video course that is called the gourmand, so the person who eats at the networking event or it could be the wallflowers. Well so that’s a person who kind of sticks to the edge of the room. He doesn’t really enter the middle of the room where everybody is standing and talking so, don’t be one of those negative networking archetypes. Have confidence in yourself and your body language and direction and strategy when you enter the room and you will be the most desired networking archetype which is the pro.
Dr. Aziz: The pro?
Kara: The pro, yes.
Dr. Aziz: Oh, pre tell, what are some of the qualities of the pro networking archetype?
Kara: So the pro networking archetype knows how to walk into the room with confidence. They have strategy so they have most probably worked out who they want to talk with before going to the networking event. And this is something I often recommend my clients to do; never attend a networking event not knowing who you want to talk with or not knowing what topics you want to talk about or what information do you want to get. You always need to attend the networking event with strategy, with the purpose with an aim so that you can walk away feeling achieved and feeling as though you have accomplished something.
So the pro enters with confidence, they enter with strategy and they actually have some conversation topics in minds so that they can easily start a conversation with a complete stranger. That is one of the hardest things that networking event is very daunting for many people even the most experienced business people and I can guarantee you this clients I have worked with even the most experienced business people don’t like networking events because they don’t know what to say to a total stranger. It’s daunting, it’s intimidating but the pro does because they have conversations topics so that is what the pro networking archetype is.
Dr. Aziz: Fantastic and fortunately you can tell us what are some of these conversation topics or how would the pro researchers think about this so that he or she could come into the room with some things so that we could go right over to that person that we don’t know at all and just start having a conversation with him?
Kara: Right, yes. Well, okay, so first, you need to know who is going to be at the event. Sometimes you are able to get the list of attendees from the event organizers sometimes they’ll give that to you. So if they do then great, you have the list and you can look at who’s going to be there and you can work out who you want to talk to. Otherwise look at the type of event that it is, so last week for example I went to a networking event and it was a Hong Kong Australia networking event, a business event. And I looked at the event organizers website. I looked at some important people who were in that organization I assume they are going to be at the event, luckily they were, and I’ve worked out, okay I want to talk to this man, I want to talk to this woman because I think maybe we can collaborate together and do something together in the future as business people.
So try to work out who’s going to be there, identify who you want to talk with. If you are looking for a job, your strategy might be a little bit different. You might want to horn in on the HR directors or the HR managers or hiring managers of the company you want to work for so that could be a completely different company to where you’re working now but it’s a step up for you. It’s your dream job or your dream company, so try to target those people. And when you meet those people, what are you going to say? You’re not going to stand there just staring at them. There’s going to be the awkward silence you want to avoid all of that so you need to have conversation topics in your mind before you…yes before you approach that person before you go to the networking event.
The easiest conversation starter and I’ll recommend you to use this when you don’t know what to say when you see somebody in the crowd, when you notice, recognize somebody’s name and you want to start talking with them, comment on your surroundings. Or ask them a question about your surroundings so for example: this could mean you asked a question, “Have you been to this event before?” And that is the…one of the exact questions actually used last week at the networking event I went to. I saw this lady; I arrived early as I usually do to networking events because I’ll give you a tip that is the easiest way to start a conversation with somebody. You arrive early and then as people enter the room they form groups around you because you are already in the room and they’re going to want to have somebody to talk to so arrive early and yes, ask them questions such as, “Have you been to this event before or do you live in this city?”
You might be going to a networking event that’s in another city so or in another town, you ask them, “Do you live in the city? Do you know the guest speaker? Are you familiar with this organization?” Questions like that, about your surroundings or about the event are great way to start a conversation because they’re not threatening. And that is the key here when you meet someone for the first time you don’t know them, they don’t know you and both of you, you’re going to have your barriers off. You’re going to…you won’t be comfortable with each other because you don’t know who you are, who the other person is, so you have a natural defense mechanism that is up. And you need to gradually lower that and you do that by asking them non-threatening questions about your surroundings, about the events or even complimenting the other person. We can get into that if you like. It’s a fantastic way to really make that person like you and want to know more about you as well.
Dr. Aziz: And that’s actually a really interesting segue because I know one of the things that you help people do is not just with their initial impression and that’s a very important but now we’re getting into as okay, you’ve opened your mouth, you started to have that conversation with that person but there’s something else is required for them to want to hire you or work with you or spend any time with you whatsoever. They need to feel bonded to you. They need to know you and like you and trust you and I know you’re an expert at helping people create that experience so let’s get into that for just a few minutes here. How can we go from that, “So do you come here? Have you’ve been to this event before?” How do we get from there to someone really knowing us, liking us, and trusting us.?
Kara: Right. That is so important and you’re right, you’re not going to do business with somebody you don’t know, you don’t like and you don’t trust. So creating that in business and establishing that with somebody is extremely important. This is true whether you’re an employee looking for an employer or whether you’re a business person looking for a client. So this is something that you need to think about every time you meet somebody. And it happens in three stages: first is the know stage, because you’re not going to like somebody you don’t know. You’re not going to trust somebody you don’t know.
So first you have to know that person. Second, you have established like, likeability with that person and third, you can work on the trust element. So the first element, the know element, that is exactly what happens at networking events. You introduce yourself, the other person knows your name, you exchange business cards, and you exchange a few questions, small talk, things like that but it’s at a fairly superficial, it’s not probably not the right word but a fairly high level you don’t really go to deep with your conversations or topics. You have to create familiarity at that stage. That is one of the most important elements when you’re creating the know part or the, know, like and trust factor. You have to create familiarity and you have to be authentic in your interactions with others. Nobody is going to connect with you or wants to move to the like stage if they don’t feel you’re being authentic.
So they need to know that you are expressing your true self and you’re being the real person you are around them as well. So that’s the know element. And it’s always at networking events that is what we always work on. Now, occasionally we might move into the like elements and if your conversation is going really well with the person you’re talking with then you might get a little bit deeper with the topics you’re talking about and you could start to create the like element with that person. One of the most effective ways of creating the like element and getting somebody to like you is to find a similarity with that person. You could have a similar hobby with that person. You could be from a similar town, a similar background. You could holiday at the same destination or and or even like visiting the same restaurants in that city where you’re at. So similarity has a very powerful impact on the last part of the, know, like and trust factor and this is something that you really want try to identify and horn in on if you noticed you have a similarity with somebody. You can use that to your advantage.
Dr. Aziz: Interesting.
Dr. Aziz: And then how do we… what about the…I like it how you put it like kind of a sequence so the third kind of deeper part of the relationship would be to develop trust and I understand that might not happen in the first conversation in a networking event but over time how do we create that trust?
Kara: Right and you’re right, it rarely happens the first time you are having a conversation with somebody so don’t go to a networking event wanting to achieve the trust element because it probably won’t happen. You need to build it over time and you need to work on three particular things. You first need to work on building your credibility as a professional. Ways you can go about this, very simple things you can do such as adding to your LinkedIn profile your credentials, getting people to put recommendations about you to show that you have social proof to show that you are a competent very valuable intelligent employee professional.
So first you need to build credibility and another thing you can do to build credibility is to look at your outfit, we talked about that earlier but your outfit is extremely important when your building credibility, so make sure you wearing the right clothes for your right industry and for the right clients. The next thing is to build consistency so this means you need to have your competent actions, you need to be consistent with those actions so they need to appear and they need to be seen every day in your professional life. It could be very simple things such as turning up to work on time. I know it sometimes that hard but you even five minutes late if you do that on a regular basis you get the reputation of somebody who is not punctual. Somebody who was maybe not serious or maybe a little bit lazy so if they’re not the repeat types of reputation that you want to establish in the business world.
So consistent actions in a positive way that will make you into a professional, and the last one is to show your knowledge and competence. And the way I always recommend my clients to do this is to put your hand up to help people. When you’re in a business meeting, if somebody is working on a particular project they’re a little bit stuck, they’re a little bit confused, put your hand up, offer your suggestions and offer your help. By through those actions other people in the office will see that you are a competent professional, that you’re intelligent, that you’re good at what you do and it helps also to boost your leadership presence as well and helps people in the office to make to see you as somebody who has leadership potential. And that is great for people who are ambitious but don’t really know how to go about moving from where they are now to something that is a little bit higher and more ambitious than the company.
Dr. Aziz: That’s really fantastic and it’s funny because we hear, how do we get someone to know, like and trust us? And maybe there’s some anticipation about, “Okay, there’s going to be some secret trick and really what you’re describing especially on the trust factor is that healthy service element and that’s what leadership is, is by being able to provide something of value for the group or the company and you’re doing that by stepping up, by being reliable, by being consistent, by offering your gifts when you see a need, so I love what you’re teaching. I know from a personal experience and work with clients that what you’re saying absolutely works and that’s how people get noticed and promoted or more clients, is by truly building that, that healthy relationship with others.
Kara: Absolutely. And the thing when you move into leadership positions, if you are somebody who wants to be recognized as a leader then you need to start looking at the narrow focus of your particular job description which is what a lot of people do. It’s easy to do, you have your…you got your job, you have your duties and you stick to just that but leaders don’t. Leaders look at the organization as a whole, they have a much broader view on how they can add value and how they can help the organization. So if you want to be in a leadership position one day, then start right now. Start looking at the broad view of the company or your own business and see what you can do to help that and to add value to that company.
Dr. Aziz: Thank you so much, Kara, for sharing. I mean I’m getting the senses we’re talking that we are just scratching the surface of all of the different things that you know about this and it’s a deep topic and extremely valuable for anyone who wants to excel in a career, in your business, have more prosperity as well as…I mean these skills are valuable for life and in all areas even outside of business. So how can people learn more from you? I know you have a lot of different ways that you help people so what are some of the basic… where’s the great starting place for people to go to learn more about what you offer?
Kara: Right, absolutely there is so much more to learn and you’re right, we did just touch on the surface today. So if you are interested in learning more, then the best place to find me is on my website and the URL is www.executive-impressions.com. On the website I have a free training which is a guide that will teach you seven social skills that will drive your business success so that’s a free download and that is a perfect starting point if you want to learn more social skills for business. Otherwise I am really, I often use LinkedIn and Twitter so please find me on LinkedIn or Twitter versus those social platforms as well and have a look at the video calls which is the content what we talked about today a lot of that is drawn from the video course which is on Udemy and it’s called, “Business Etiquette 101 Social Skills for Professional Success.” So I urge you to have a look at that video course and then you can watch the four-hour course in all the videos and get a lot more content, a lot more information and knowledge and skills for your professional development.
Dr. Aziz: Fantastic and you are down playing it. You are recognized as one of the top 100 leadership experts to follow on Twitter.
Kara: That’s right.
Dr. Aziz: So there you go and I can see why? I need to see that just how much of a depth of understanding you have and how valuable this is for people to excel because there’s so many people that are fantastic at what they do. They’re really skilled and it’s amazing how this element to being able to interact with people, be social, make connections. Have people know like and trust you is what makes the difference and can help people just skyrocket in their success. So thanks again so much for joining us, Kara.
Kara: Thank you so much, Aziz, I had a great time chatting with you.
Dr. Aziz: That brings us to the end of the interview and almost the end of the episode because first, we get to talk about what actions you’re going to take?
So the action step for today is, it’s really up to you because I don’t know if you have like a networking event coming up. Obviously if you do, opportunities for action steps are huge and you’re going to use one thing that you learn, hopefully. If you don’t have a networking event coming up I really think this idea of how to enter a room is extremely powerful even in a social situation, a party, a gathering, anything. What I want you to do is really get clear on where you can apply this? Maybe it’s not this week, maybe, it’s two weeks out. Maybe you can apply it right away. Maybe you’re going to meet a friend at a bar and you can enter that bar in this way. Any scene where you can enter into it in this more confident way that Kara was sharing, I think that is worth tremendous amount, that one specific tip that she shared so go ahead and apply that in your life, get used to it, make it part of who you are and until we speak again. May you have the courage to be, who you are and to know on a deep level that you are awesome. Talk to you soon.
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