“I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but ,people will never forget how you made them feel .”
The fundamental insight Ramit starts with is that beyond how you look, what people notice first and foremost is how you make them feel in the first few seconds of meeting you.
Think about it: don’t you get an instant feeling about people you’re introduced to, whether good or bad? For me, it’s a combination of the vibe they give off and how they present themselves.
Especially if you’re shy, Ramit recommends making a commitment to do the following within 60 seconds of entering the room: go up to someone and introduce yourself. That way, you will have burst the shy bubble before you have a chance to get nervous.
The best thing you can do is to just get over it and press on.
Ramit talks about being proactive in social situations, and how this increases your social value, especially when you’re in a group setting.
This doesn’t mean dominating the conversation. Instead, it’s about being prepared (brainstorming a list of potential topics before the event, planning the type of impression you want to leave), and engaging everyone in the conversation once you’re there.
Ramit points out that you don’t build a relationship by just getting down to the facts. There’s a dance, a game, a whole process that’s important before getting down to business.
Just like going to a restaurant, you don’t want to just get the food the moment you walk in the door, eat it and go. It’s a dining experience with a set of rituals that makes it enjoyable, worthwhile and something you’ll want to do again.
Ramit then goes on to point out the importance of getting feedback on how you’re coming across. His point is when you’re bad at social skills, people won’t just come out and tell you – frankly, people don’t even tell you when you’ve got spinach in your teeth!
If you’re interested in hearing more on this, I recommend Ramit’s interview with Pam Slim (author of Escape from Cubicle Nation ) in module 1.
Part of having great social skills is knowing how to enter a conversation with ease and grace. But having gotten into that conversation, you don’t want to “get stuck” there. You also need to know how to wrap things up in an elegant way.
When the conversation has come to a natural end, or you’ve reached your attention span limit, all you have to say is, “It was a pleasure meeting you. Thanks for chatting.” Then walk away. It’s all about your demeanor while you’re giving that simple two-liner. You can smile, but you have to disengage and start moving away.
Some additional insights into the importance of social skills came up last weekend while I was attending Jeff Walker ’s PLF Live event for entrepreneurs who want to make a difference by getting their message and services out into the world. It was a great place to practice the social skills Ramit talked about.
Jeff also talked about what kind of conduct was “not cool” in terms of building relationships. There was to be no pushing and shoving to get into the room to get a good seat – you never know who could make or break your next business opportunity. We were to come from a mindset of openness and abundance when we talked to each other. We were to be supportive and help each other.
In addition to his instructions on how to “be cool” at the conference, the way he set up the sessions also encouraged us to share our ideas. He integrated small group conversations into each session where we had to find 2-3 other people and share our answers to questions he posed. Even our introverts were right in the mix sharing their points.
So, when you attend events, take advantage of the opportunity to build new relationships. Stay present and disconnect from the rest of your world for that limited time.
And as you build your network – that crucial set of mutually supportive relationships that travels with you no matter where you are – keep in mind the role that social skills play.
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