388) Initiating Contact

Initiating Contact

When you’re at networking events, it is simply up to you to initiate contact. That is, making contact is 100% your obligation, if you want a productive experience.

You can, however, easily make it happen with three simple steps.

  1. Make meaningful eye contact with people, where you look at them and they look you back in the eye. There is nothing strange about this. It is completely human.
  • With eye contact established, smile. This is not a forced smile, but a genuine “it is good to see you” smile. Chances are, human nature will kick in and they will smile back.
  • With that eye contact and a smile, simply say, “hello.” They may say “hello” in return, or they may say nothing.

Whatever the case, it was your objective (as well as sole obligation) to initiate contact. You’ve done that. Congratulations!

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278) Finish Like You Start

Finish Like You Start

When you encounter someone new, how does that interaction unfold?

You make solid eye contact. It’s not a stare, but a definite connecting look where you acknowledge them, right?

From there, you smile. Not a cheesy, forced grin. But rather a genuine smile, one that seems to really comes from the heart.

Then, with the foundation of eye contact and a warm smile, you extend your hand to meet theirs. This handshake is neither a bone crushing exchange nor a loose grasp that makes you wonder if it happened at all. Rather, this handshake is a firm connection of your hand web to theirs.

From here, other polite pleasantries ensue. Introductions. A little small talk. Perhaps it then rolls into business. And if all goes well you settle on a game plan for follow-up interaction.

Then this new connection finishes exactly like it starts: With a warm smile, a firm handshake and solid eye contact.

Like what you’ve read? Prefer to hear it as a podcast or daily flash briefing? Subscribe to the Networking Rx Minute podcast here or wherever you get your podcasts.

Networking Rx: Making Eye Contact (EPS 156)

Frank Agin, founder and president of AmSpirit Business Connections and host of Networking Rx, shares thoughts and ideas on making good eye contact in conversations and presentations.


For more information on AmSpirit Business Connections and its franchise opportunity program, contact Frank Agin at frankagin@amspirit.com or visit http://www.amspirit.com/franchise.php.

Beyond Initiate Contact

Beyond Initiate Contact

After initiating contact at a networking event (making eye contact, smiling, and saying hello) one of two things will happen:

1) Nothing will happen; the person will just move along. So what? Don’t take it personally. There are many reasons why they did not stop and none of them are related to you.

2) They stop and are open to expanding the initial contact into a more meaningful connection.

When this happens, be sure to do these three things:

1) Handshake: Offer your hand in anticipation of a handshake, the true first impression. The handshake should be firm, intersecting your thumb web with theirs. Not too firm; a bone crusher might serve to imply dominance. And not too soft; a “limp fish” may be interpreted as disinterest. Remember, it is better to not be remembered for your handshake than to be remembered for a bad one.

2) Offer Your Name: As you shake hands, offer your name and be sure to enunciate your first name clearly. There are two reasons why this is important. First, unless it is someone you know well, offering your name serves to eliminate any potential embarrassment if the person doesn’t recall your name from an earlier encounter. Second, when you offer your name, they are likely to offer theirs in return.

3) Clarify Their Name: If the person does not reciprocate when you offer your name, ask, “What is your name?” Regardless of how you came to know the person’s name, clarify it aloud, saying something like:

“It’s great to meet you. Susan, right?” or “Hi, Susan. Do you go by Sue or Susan?”

These steps will help you better remember their name. In addition, it will subtly imply that their name is important to you, which it is.