Posted: October 18, 2012
Six great tips for showing up well
There is more to how we present ourselves than what we wear, do and say.By Teri Karjala
People are often concerned about their ability to connect with others. Questions such as, "How do you create partnerships?" or "How do you build strong ties in the community?" are common. Networking, of course, is the obvious answer, but earning the trust and respect of others so much that they want to do business with us or send us referrals is not as simple as it sounds.
Beyond the superficial elements of basic networking, there is a deeper way in which we gain the trust and respect of our peers. You might be knowledgeable, well-spoken and well-dressed—as well as extremely well-versed on the needs of a potential client or contact—yet still fall short of gaining the amount of trust, respect and business interaction you desire. The reason is that there is more to how we present ourselves than what we wear, do and say.
There is a more powerful influence at play in our interactions with others that determines how we really "show up.” This powerful influence is the mood, mindset or energy that we allow ourselves to experience at the moment. This subtle, yet immensely powerful force sets a tone that either puts others at ease, or conversely, on edge.
Whether or not you have considered the emerging hot topic of “energy,” it is a force you project that constantly interacts with the world around you. Think back to last night: What was your mood? Were you happy and excited about your day—or were you angry and frustrated with a work issue? If you are like most people, chances are good that some frustration, irritation or complaint made it home with you. How did your energy/mood affect others that you interacted with and the quality of those interactions?
Let’s say that you were in a negative mindset, preoccupied or worried when you got home. How did others respond or interact with you? I can safely say that those interactions would be very different if you came home in a positive, excited and happy frame of mind. The outcome of each of our daily interactions is directly related to how we “show-up.” This is true for all areas of life, even in the business world.
The positive aspect is that, while we cannot directly dictate the number of referrals or calls we are going to get after a networking event, we can control how we “show-up.” This can be as simple and straightforward a matter as focusing on being totally engaged with your audience or those with whom you interact.
Engagement is All-Important
I am writing this in a meeting in which the presenter lost me 20 minutes ago with his monotonous and unremarkable delivery as he reads from a PowerPoint. Looking around the room, I see others responding to him with similar disengagement. Take a guess: How excited am I to do business with him? You’re right. Although he may be a wonderful guy, how he “showed-up” for me was nothing special, and I will probably forget him within a few days.
The opposite is also true. You have probably attended a meeting or networking event and met someone who completely jazzed you. You had an instant connection and left feeling more energized, inspired and motivated to take action. Most likely you were eager to meet with that person for a one-on-one meeting—and guess what? You probably won’t be forgetting him or her anytime soon.
How we “show up” in our interactions has a huge impact on everything, including your bottom line. Here are six tips to showing up in a positive way:
- Get in-tune with yourself. Being consciously aware of how you are feeling and thinking will help you to know what kind of "vibe" you are emitting to others and allow you to "reset" yourself if need be.
- Set your intentions. Prior to any event or situation, know what you want to achieve or obtain by attending.
- Nurture a “giving” rather than a “getting” mentality. Read the “Go-Giver” by Bob Burg and John David Mann. This book describes how putting others’ interests first and adding value to their lives leads to unexpected returns. Following these concepts will transform the way you “show-up.”
- Avoid talking about your business at networking events. Instead ask questions and find out about the people you are talking to. What are they passionate about in life? What do they do for fun? By doing this, you stand out from others and give people the opportunity to talk about their favorite subject—themselves!
- Practice how you “show-up” with friends and family. What mindset and energy do you exude? You will be surprised about how much it will improve your relationships to practice total engagement with those who mean the most to you.
- Review your goals. Your goals will help determine what you need to be “showing-up” for and give you direction in creating important connections.
Teri Karjala is a licensed professional counselor and marriage and family therapist. She can be reached directly at: email@example.com.