7 Ways to Make Heart-Centered Connections…and Improve the Outcome of Your Experience
by Tonya Davidson
Attending a conference, a class or even just an online forum can be a little frightening. You might think no one is interested in your opinion, you don’t want to be judged, you are afraid of putting yourself in a vulnerable position. However, the only way you can gain an experience is to be willing to be vulnerable. This courage creates character and builds confidence. This is a win-win situation.
1) Come prepared
Bring your business cards with all your information on it. This includes your website, blog, facebook, twitter and LinkedIn information. If it can include a picture of you, your work or your brand that’s important! Always be ready for those opportunities when you can connect. A great place to keep them is in your name tag holder…ready for passing out. No digging or fumbling. You never know, the person you connect with might be your next best friend, an important school education director, editor or even a customer!
2) Rehearse your ideas, thoughts and conversations
Rehearse what you might say to those you meet. Close your eyes and imagine yourself extending your hand to someone, smiling and introducing yourself. Next, brainstorm topics and questions of interest. Everyone likes to be asked for their opinion. So create a list of questions you’d be interested in hearing about or they’d be interested in talking about. Or think up topics that are pertinent to the audience or group of artists you are with.
3) Wear your name tag
Try to include a picture of your work if possible or your logo. You can print these out on stickers and attach them when you get there. Or maybe you want to print out a tiny sticker with the Facebook logo to let others know that they can connect with you. Don’t forget to include your state as well. These things help others to remember you. Be memorable! Try to make sure your name tag is visible and not covered by your sweater, bag etc. It makes an introduction easier, especially if someone has had a momentary lapse in their memory with your name.
4) Focus on common interests
To establish a bond with someone else, hone in on their common interests and talk about those. If you know that they like to do resin or polymer clay, as them questions and share information with them on those common interests.
5) Give joy-filled exuberant answers
When asked how are you doing or how your art work is selling, don’t just say fine or great. Make it a memorable reply by adding some flavor like amazing, beautiful, spectacular, tremendous, outstanding, cool, etc. Don’t be afraid to toot your own horn. When you meet someone and ask how they are doing would you rather hear “I’m okay, but…” or “I’m fabulous and life is great”? Think about projecting joy, warmth and exuding confidence! Everyone will surely want to meet you with this vibrating energy!
6) Watch your body language
Try not to look at your watch, look around or past the person you are speaking with, cross your arms, or start talking to others that are not part of the conversation. I’m sure you just got a flash back of when you were talking to someone and you were telling them something about you or your life. They seem to be listening and then ‘oh look shiny’, there’s Sally over there and they start talking or worse yelling to them while you are in mid-sentence. Do your best to be mindful of what your body is saying to others and make them feel like they are your focus. It’s just a few minutes of your time but it makes a huge difference in how you make them feel. Be a great listener!
7) Conquer your fear
Don’t be afraid of putting yourself out there and meeting others. Remember when you meet someone and you feel uncomfortable, that’s okay. Experience it and if it disagrees with your sensibilities, you simply say “next”, and move on to the next person. There are usually at least 200 other people to go talk to. If you feel they were mean, judgmental, rude or disinterested, that’s unfortunate but c’est la vie. Not everyone needs to be one of your peeps. There are many you will connect with if you try…and try again. SWSWSWSW = some will. some won’t. so what. someone’s waiting!
Tonya Davidson is an artist, entrepreneur, coach and mentor. She helps other artists better their techniques and business skills by empowering them to live creatively from the inside out. Her ezine goes out to over 11,000 subscribers. If you want to learn to create a life you love, sign up for a FREE subscription at http://wholelottawhimsy.com. Be sure to check out her blog at www.tonyadavidson.com for more articles like this one.