You - like me - may be a little nervous when you are introduced to new people at big networking events. Sometimes my nervousness may even lead me to stutter over my own words or make any number of embarrassing gaffes. Most introduction mistakes are the result of normal-and forgivable-memory lapses or nervousness. But the foul-ups below result primarily from insensitivity and tactlessness.
Words to the wise - don’t do the following:
1) Look Away. People who look over shoulders and around the room while involved in introductions are saying in every way that they don’t really care very much. Always best to look people in the eye when you are introduced to show them you are excited to meet them.
2) Make too-personal comments. Divorces, bereavements, job losses, illnesses and the like are not fit subjects to raise in the course of business introductions. I always ask about family, not spouse to avoid any awkward divorce conversations.
3) Interrupt. When people are engaged in serious conversation or obviously occupied, don’t break in to introduce someone else. Wait for a more convenient moment when there is an obvious break in the conversation.
4) Defer to one person at the expense of the other. Be sure that both parties are included in any conversation that follows a polite introduction. So don't spend all your time on only one party - be egalitarian in your conversation.
5) Gush. Most people are embarrassed by overly enthusiastic introductions. Avoid exaggerated praise when you introduce them. Extreme flattery is a sign of insincerity.
So what introduction goofs do you think folks should avoid? Let us know in the comments!
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So your HR department says get ready; we have a candidate coming to interview with you in an hour. You have never seen this person's resume, You don't know anything about them and have little time to prepare. What do you do?
I have recently been interviewing candidates for a new position at my work and suffice it to say being the interviewer is hard work. It is not something you can wing and do well. You need to have some good questions to really make an interview worth anything. Otherwise, you are just going with a gut feeling and that really does no service to you, the company, or the candidate.
You want to make sure someone fits your needs and the culture of the organization in a short thrity minute interview. I always recommend having some background questions ready like how did you choose to interview with our company and what are your goals for this position you are seeking. These two questions will tell you if the candidate did their homework on the company and whether they have a desire for this company in particular or just any job that pays.
I also think you want to always be prepared to explain the culture of your company. I never try to hide a culture in an interview. It's an important sub-part of any job. So tell the candidate if the company is bureaucratic and requires following lengthy procedures before final decisions are made. Then, ask the candidate for examples of situations where he has faced similar circumstances and ways he responded successfully or unsuccessfully. Conversely, if the culture is informal and collaborative, ask the candidate to explain situations where he has been able to work in groups or see projects through to completion without much help from boss' or management.
These few questions will really be the key to having an effective interview and giving good information back to HR before offers are made. Also this interview gives a candidate a good idea about the kind of company it really is. You want the business and the candidate to be compatible. The worst is to hire someone who becomes grump because they hate their job. Fit matters for companies and it starts at the interview to make sure it is there!
What are your best tips for the interviewers out there? I would love to hear in the comments. Also if you like this look you can shop it directly in the scrolling pictures below.
Have you ever braved a social event solo? It can sometimes be intimidating but I posit attitude is half the battle to being successful at socializing without a plus one. In fact, it can be freeing to have time to meet new people and not worry if your date is doing ok. So how do you take on this solo social?
You are all dressed up (see pics for some networking looks) and no one you know at the party. Do not stress about it. Shine! I usually scan the room and look for a group that is laughing with lots of gregarious body language. You know who I am talking about - the loud, fun ones! Then walk up to the group of guests and introduce yourself. Say "you look like you were having a such a good time I would love to join you." People are generally nice. You will not get turned away.
When you get into the group (and you will!) ask how people know the host or hostess. That gives good starter to conversation and helps give you context to keep the conversation going. Also being up to date on current events is a great way to ensure no lulls through the night. Everyone likes to talk about their own city and what happening there. Keep it light but interesting with local sports or school activities or events coming to town. You will find you can have a great time not having known a soul at the start.
I think the reason socializing solo seems difficult is because we need our wing man as a crutch. You don't! In fact a wingman can be a hindrance if they are not excited to be there of you feel like you have to take care of them. I think our fear of feeling awkward often keeps us from experiencing new things. So tell that fear to be quiet and go meet some new folks! You can do it!
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M.E.L. is an attorney and small business entrepreneur whose mission is to help professionals conquer the workaday world with style and poise.
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