The business of business is relationships; the business of life is human connection. – Robin S. Sharma
People assume I am an extrovert because I attend a lot of events, I speak to many groups and coach leaders. You get the point, in a leadership position there are many events to be hosted and attended. For some, this comes natural and for others, like myself, it is work.
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The truth is, I am an introvert who operates in an extrovert world. I am quite terrible about small talk. I feel much more comfortable sitting in the corner and conversing with three people all night at a party than I do “working the room.” But, for leaders this is not a realistic approach to take at events, so, here are three ways I overcome:
- Do some research. I carry a cheat sheet with me of movies that I have seen, books that I have read or podcasts that I have recently discovered because I love to share those things. What do you love? Sports, the music industry, new restaurants, no matter what it is, take time to prepare “clif notes” of the names and a few fun facts so you do not forget in the nervousness of it all.I love new discoveries and being able to tell people about them. It also gives me something that I know I can talk about, otherwise, I end up talking about my job, which is really boring to everybody, except maybe my mom.
- Dress relevant but one beat above the rest. Dress codes are at an interesting place right now. It is one of the internal discussions we, at Southwest Michigan First, are currently having. At the heart, we are consultants. We work to grow individuals, companies and leaders. Back in the ’60s, the dress for consultants was established as either blue or black suits, white or blue shirts, and always a tie.That has held for a long time, but I am more and more finding myself in meetings where people are not wearing ties. In a lot of cases, they are not even wearing suits.The changing nature of dress makes it difficult to know what to wear; however, well curated events will give you recommended dress attire or things to pack, pay attention to them. Society and culture are changing and we want to maintain relevancy and style while always dressing one beat above the mass. Dress well and it will help you exude the confidence you need to succeed.
- Enjoy. It seems simple however, as leaders, we often times become bogged down by the amount of time we spend at events. Remember to relax and enjoy the event, not critique or analyze it but simply, enjoy. When we can learn to appreciate the events we are attending it helps us not only feel more comfortable and open to have genuine conversation, but it also enables us to not dread attending.
Whether you are attending a semi-casual social event or a formal gala I hope these three tips will ease your mind as you prepare to engage with your peers.
Question: What do you to prepare for an event?