Posted Emma Davis on 10/23/2018 |General
Often times, establishing a friendship hinges upon first impressions. I saw this first hand when I traveled to Cleveland, Ohio earlier this summer for a sales conference with the custom apparel and promotional product company I work with.
In attending this conference, I knew I would have the opportunity to learn about the fabulous products and designs the company offers, as well as sales strategies to use with customers. I also knew I was going to meet a variety of students from other colleges across the country. What I didn’t know was that I was going to establish lasting friendships with the people on my team and from other departments.
True friendships are few and far between, which was why I was shocked by this experience. I made many strong relationships in just one weekend. While part of my success in forming these friendships can be attributed to the individuals themselves, I believe it was the way I approached these relationships that truly made the difference.
Looking back on this experience, I was able to summarize my approach with three unique tactics that might just help you establish successful relationships when attending your next social or professional event.
I celebrated the triumphs of my teammates.
Celebrating your own achievements can be great, but it is important for colleagues and friends to see that you are just as thrilled when they accomplish something as well. During the conference, various individuals were recognized for their success in sales, participation in group activities and contributions they made to the conference. Whether it was someone from my team or a colleague I hadn’t yet met, I congratulated and cheered my peers on for their achievements. This not only helped to make their moment of recognition more special, but it also made it easier to strike up conversation and get to know them better that weekend.
I complimented others when an opportunity arose.
Whether it was someone’s fun personality, beautiful blue eyes or a teammate’s creativity, I was sure to let that person know that I recognized and appreciated their unique attributes. What I intrinsically learned in doing this was the importance of being genuine and fearless with compliments - not to conjure up a compliment just to get an individual to accept you- but if something kind comes to mind that could brighten a person’s day, share it!
I listened so I could learn.
Probably the most important thing I did all weekend to foster great relationships with others was simply just listening to others: paying attention to their likes, dislikes, hobbies, hometowns, extracurricular involvement and other simple things that could be easily forgotten unless heard and absorbed with intention. Because of this, I was able to strike conversations with these others using specific information I obtained from them directly (think asking someone how their summer class finished up or how their dog is doing after surgery). Listening to others with intent also shows care and a genuine interest in people as they are.
Thanks to these three strategies, I made new connections, gained more confidence in myself and my ability to converse with others. So, whether you’re attending a sales conference or a neighborhood get together, try employing one of these techniques and see just how connected you can be!