Sometimes the most profound things that we can do are also the simplest. Dale Carnegie spoke about “Being a Friendlier Person.” I would have to agree with the statement, especially when it comes to networking. I recently heard Bob Burg say that we must create “Know, Like & Trust” with our contacts if we are to expect them to part with money or referrals. Both of these things can be brought back to a very simple act… Smile.
I attempt to educate people on the power of a smile. If you test this theory, you can go throughout your day and just smile to people and watch their reactions. Now, I’m not talking about that creepy kind of “Stalker-type” smile. I’m referring to a genuine smile that says you’re happy with life and wish that the other person has a great day. You will be amazed at how others will smile back at you and some will even speak to you.
When we take this into the context of a networking meeting, we have to look at the statement of creating “Know, Like & Trust.” If we are trying to present ourselves as “Like-able,” then we must first start with the simple act of a smile. The other thing that a smile does is it attracts people to you. Let’s say that you visit a networking group of some sort. When you walk in and decide which direction to head or which people to approach, do you head straight for the guy or gal that has a frown on their face? No. We head towards the people that are smiling. We are naturally drawn to people that have a positive outlook on life and that can be seen by the simple act of a smile.
Bottom line… even if you’re not “in the mood” to smile, do it anyways. If you think that you can’t bring your energy level up enough to muster up a smile, then think twice about attending that meeting. Although I’m not typically an advocate for skipping out on a networking event, the damage that you can do from showing up as a big ‘ole grump can be far worse than not showing for “personal reasons.”
Good luck in your networking and don’t forget… “Smile!”