1. Mirror your audience
Learning to adapt to your surroundings and becoming a product of your environment are some really easy ways to build a good rapport with the person you’re talking to. This means tailoring your approach based on where you are and who you’re speaking with. If you’re chatting with a CEO in a job interview, you want to maintain a professional, calm and enthusiastic approach – mirror your audience of the CEO. If you find yourself randomly networking at your neighbours BBQ, you’re chatting to them as a friend and adapting that amicable approach.
“Mirroring your audience is absolutely paramount, because in a way they see themselves in you and that makes people really comfortable.”
2. Active listening
Active listening and body language go hand in hand. Professor Albert Mehrabian says that 55% of human communication is in our body language so if you’re looking to make a lasting impression – you want to get that right!
When you’re speaking with someone, look them in the eye, shoulders turned inwards and nod when they’re speaking. You can always repeat what they’ve said in a follow up question to show you’re engaged in what their saying.
People like to feel heard so active listening will be a sure fire way to make them feel connected and attribute to building a good rapport.
3. Be personable
Find common ground in a shared interest, hobby, a current affair or just the “Classic Melbourne Weather”.
4. Remember names and use them!
When you meet someone, say their name 10 times in the back of your head and you won’t forget it!
“When you can call someone by their name, it makes the world of a difference – it shows that you genuinely care about them and it shows that you’re actively listening”
Using somebody names – especially at a meet up – will put them at ease and show that you’re focused on them and paying attention to what they have to say and who they are as an individual.
Meeting lots of people at once? – Apologise in advance: “I’ve just been introduced to 15 people in the space of 10 seconds – my apologies if I get your name slightly wrong. Do you mind repeating it for me?”
From there, just be yourself! Networking is all about getting the simple things right to put people at ease and will help foster good working relationships going forward.