To some, Facebook is the ultimate distracter during a presentation or lecture. For me, it’s the use of speech disfluencies, especially “pretty much,” “you know,” and “ummm.” Their overuse detracts from a presentation and can give an impression of being unprepared. At the beginning of my dissertation research, I, too, struggled with these filler words. I hope to share some strategies I used to eliminate these words all together.
Last weekend, I was flying home for a quick visit. I landed an aisle seat with an empty middle seat. As I usually do when flying, I put my earbuds in, turned my music up and closed myself off for the three-hour ride. Two hours in, after finishing the latest issue of ASDA News, I laid it in the middle seat and checked on the time. I noticed my row mate glancing down on the middle seat, once then twice. I could sense his curiosity and hesitation to ask me about what I was reading. Now I’m not one of those passengers to strike up conversations with strangers, but in this case I removed my earbuds and asked if he would like to see the issue. What followed was an hour-long conversation about my experiences in dental school and what ASDA was all about. This inflight experience made me wonder, “What’s the value in striking a conversation with your fellow airline passengers?”
They say first impressions are everything. But does it really end there? What about the second, third or maybe fourth impression? It doesn’t always have to be “You had me at ‘hello’” moments that make you worth remembering. Regardless of whom you are meeting with whether it is a residency interviewer, a potential employer, or your dean, the real work happens after you leave that meeting. Making that critical first impression is important. What is equally as important is how to make that impression linger after that initial contact. The principle of “follow up” is key to all interactions. It extends that initial meeting and keeps you in the mind of that person or people you met. Follow up shows genuine interest. It shows your conversation wasn’t a one-and-done scenario. It shows that you care about their thoughts and value any subsequent communication you may have with them. Ways you can keep that open communication with someone through follow up can be done through many mediums. Below I have listed four ways you can follow up with someone on a scale of recommended to highly-recommended…
I’m determined to bring back “schmooze.” It’s more than small talk. It’s social networking at its finest. It’s the smooth type of conversation you don’t know you’re having, but still manages to land politicians in office and CEOs in the boardroom hot seat. My father would even describe this conversational tango as an art form. Learning to develop a natural conversation flow is critical in a profession as social and connected as ours. Everyone has intentions when entering a conversation, but it’s how they are pursued that dictates your networking success.
Not sure where to start when it comes to networking? There are some parallels between networking and dating. Both are centered on meeting new people and building meaningful relationships with one-time strangers. Not all networking interactions will lead to long-lasting relationships (just like dating), though there will be some that will extend beyond that first initial contact. Here are several key tips to keep in mind next time you find yourself interested in expanding your social circles and social interests.