Fellow members of The Tall Dog. How would you like to X-Factor network, with the charms of Hugh Bonneville or Cate Blanchet?

Does the thought of starting a conversation with a stranger fill you with horror? Do

you haunt the buffet table at socials trying to simulate invisible, bury yourself in your laptop in meetings, or hope no-one will tread their size nines towards you at parties?

Having shared a smile and an invitation to talk, many of us still hold back through a lack of Hugh Grant or Meryl Streep type charm, and confidence.

So to networking – the process of engaging with other people, learning about them and telling them about yourself – Charismatise and change your life forever.

Here are your Top Ten essentials for success.

  1. Breathe. Before you meet and greet, take a deep breath through your nose, deep down into the diaphragm, hold it for up to 20 seconds then slowly let it out through your mouth. Do this simple breathing exercise five times and you will feel confident, relaxed yet raring to meet people.
  1. Choose four positive words that you feel say something about you or emphasise how you’d like to be and stick ’em in your brain’s subconscious.

Examples might be. Considerate, Confident, Serendipitous and

Exciting. Don’t be surprised how quickly you will become what these words mean, when you say them at least 365 days of the year!

  1. Stretch yourself!Get that posture upright so that when you enter a room you imagine you’re 2-3 inches taller, and give a confident, stature-approach to the rest of your body language.
  1. Say Hello. Be first to say hello and give a firm but non-bone crushing handshake, not a weak one that feels like a floppy Jelly fish.  Introduce yourself with some well-chosen and interesting words, telling who you are and what you do for a living. Practise this, so that you come across positively and professionally.
  1. Name. “Boris it”, ask for it, say it aloud back, brain-implant it and focus on using it during your conversation. We all love our names – Boris Johnson especially, King Newt maybe not! Using a name, and giving and selling your own builds rapport.
  1. Smile– not the plastic instant! Just sincerely tell your face you’re happy. People like to be with happy smilers because it cheers them up, and it’s infectious. Don’t tell people your problems, 70% don’t care -30% are glad!
  1. Eye-up positively. Eye contact, especially when linked with a smile will work wonders. We don’t mean staring people out, but maintaining steady eye contact will show that you are interested in what the other person has to say.
  1. Ask Probing Questions. They open up conversations. ”How are you? What’s the job like? Which part do you like best? Who are you working with? When’s the best time to talk? Why can’t we bring that date forward? Where are you located?” When you learn the following poem by heart, you will never be question-less.

“I keep seven professional women and men,

They taught me all they knew,

Their names are WHAT and WHERE and WHEN,

And, WHY, WHICH, HOW and WHO”  (c) John Boulton,attitudes training

  1. Actively Listen– be an 80% listener and leave 20% of the time for you to talk. Most people like to talk about themselves, their family, hobbies, jobs, their aspirations and goals in life, which means you can learn so much to your advantage, so actively listen and never, never put anyone on “ignore”.
  1. Go out of your way to professionally network with everyone you meet. Strike up a conversation with people you don’t normally speak with at work, in shops, buses and restaurants.  One of my best clients came about when I handed out my brochures on London Underground, in a gorilla suit.  How surreal, yet effective, was that?

When you show genuine interest in people, you build that all important rapport with them. You make your own Luck – no-one else can do it for you, so get out there and be a people person.  Network and promote yourself, win friends and influence people and make a positive and professional difference to your own life and the lives of others.  That’s what success is all about.

Happy networking!         John Boulton   www.attitudestraining.co.uk