Whether it’s in a professional or social setting, we need to learn how to stand out a bit more. Regardless of the profession, we can all benefit from properly netwerking™ . I work in the Entertainment Industry, where no one ever remembers who he/she meets. After many awkward encounters where I tried to say hello to someone who had no idea who I was—and vice versa—I decided it was time for a change. I started by listing the things that I caught my eye the most about people. I took these elements and incorporated them into my attitude. And so far it seems to be working.
1. Wear Bright Colors
No one notices your great personality from the other side of the room—therefore, you need to give people a reason to look your way. My favorite color to wear is and forever will be black. The problem with colors such as black and other neutrals is that everybody wears them. It is important to be bold, different and brave with your outfit if you’re aiming to get noticed. I am not encouraging you to dress like a circus clown to a corporate event, but get creative. Something as simple as a colorful accessory or undershirt might just do the trick.
2. Smile At Strangers
It’s not awkward. If you accidentally lock eyes with someone, don’t just look away. Smile at them! Chances are they will smile back and maybe spark a conversation. Obviously, don’t randomly stare at someone and start smiling. That would be weird. Smiling will make you seem more approachable and attract the right people your way.
It may sound cliché, but it works. Smile!
3. Don’t Be Afraid To Introduce Yourself
If you notice someone’s name tag, whom you’ve emailed with in the past, say hi! If you’ve never spoken to them before, but something interests you about them, point it out. The worst thing that can happen is for them to be dismissive—not that serious. If anything, that speaks poorly on their character, not yours. It’s hard to widen your network if you’re not willing to put yourself out there.
4. Give Compliments
This is the hardest thing for me (and probably for many others) because I hate kissing ass. Once during a red carpet event my boss insisted that I walk over to a casting director, whom I barely knew, and spark a conversation. I was nervous to do so and refused, but he dragged over to where she was and the first thing that came out of my mouth was how much I liked her lipstick. She actually got very excited about the compliment because, like me, she was a lipstick enthusiast. This may seem like an irrelevant example, but my point is that people love compliments and they don’t always have to be fake or mal-intentioned. A genuine praise can ease the beginning of any conversation. After this encounter she knew exactly who I was and didn’t make me wait three days before answering my emails anymore.
5. Fix Your Body Language
This is key. I unintentionally carry a bitch face with me everywhere I go. I can’t help it. I am always thinking of random things in my head and without meaning to I seem totally unapproachable. However, if there is one thing I’ve learned through my years of sorority recruitment is my resting face. Get in front of a mirror and practice a soft smile—not too happy and not too fake. Keep that face on you when you are in unfamiliar situations and you’re golden! Also, get off you’re phone. Nothing screams insecure and uncomfortable louder than a person staring at their iPhone. Silly 14-year-old girls hide behind their phones; there is no reason a grown career woman should.