Why it’s important to you

Your brain and skills will only take you so far.  To succeed in this world, you really need a network – connections with people who can help you achieve your goals.  In fact, they say that you’re the average of the 5 people you spend most of your time with!

Luckily, it only takes the first 90 seconds – or less – to get them to open up to you, like you, and form a connection.

Focus on congruency in your interactions

Next time you find yourself in the typically awkward networking situation, focus on congruency: people notice your body language, eyes, and facial expressions.  They all have to sync up so that you come across as authentic and trustworthy.

Imagine if you asked someone “how’s it going” and they say “oh everything’s great” while they’re looking away and have their body turned to the side.  You KNOW things aren’t going great for them right away!

How to become more likeable

Instead, make sure your body is opened up towards the person you’re interacting with, you maintain eye contact – without staring of course, and make sure you smile.  It’s the easiest thing and it has the biggest impact in starting a warm relationship, yet so few people do it.

Next up: mirroring

Once you’ve mastered these 3 small things, the next step is to mirror their mannerisms.  If someone’s a low-talker, they won’t connect easily with a loud talker.  And when you only have 90 seconds to make the right impression, you want to connect as fast as possible.  So make them comfortable by copying some of their mannerisms.

How to get them talking

These tactics will get the other person to open up and engage in discussion with you.  Lead with open-ended questions where they can’t give a sterile yes or no answer… any question that starts with: how, when, what, why, where or how is great.

How to identify common ground

Get them talking because that’s the only way to identify common ground.  Listen carefully to find out what they truly care about, what’s on their mind, why are they where they are and what are they hoping to get out of it.  Perhaps you can genuinely help, or you can make an introduction with other people you meet in the room, or you share an interest you can follow up on and deepen your connection.

It only takes 90 seconds!

The good news AND the bad news is that it only takes 90 seconds.  The bad news is that, if you don’t click in those 90 seconds, you probably can’t get a connection going.  The good news is that with just a few simple tactics you prime your encounter to become a fruitful connection.  It’s easier AND more important than you think!