Submitted by: Shenneth Dove-Morse
Philadelphia professionals met at the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce’s (GPCC) offices to learn tips on succeeding through intentional self-promotion from Soni Dimond, an image development, public speaking and communications expert. Dimond gave advice to attendees on improving soft skills such as introducing yourself in networking settings, verbally closing a deal with a prospective client, and perfecting body language that will signal that you are approachable in business settings. Dimond also offered feedback to volunteers during the session.
“You can apply what you will learn today to your life,” said Dimond to the audience as she opened her presentation. Dimond engaged her audience without any props or presentation slides and simply talked with the audience in a personable way while conveying key take-aways for attendees.
Intentional self-promotion is particularly important in a recovering economy when competition is tougher. Differentiating yourself from others can mean the difference between getting that job or new client or not. The simple act of smiling can put another person at ease or compel them to want to learn more about what skills or talents you may have to offer to them.
The Importance of R-E-S-P-E-C-T in Networking
When talking with people, Dimond told attendees to “respect, reflect and redirect” the conversation’s emphasis to the person you are speaking with. Dimond advised her audience that people are more likely to want to help you if you take the emphasis away from yourself in conversation. She also suggested trying to model behavior of someone you highly respect.
According to Dimond, there are four points that you should convey to people when you meet them in a business or networking setting:
- “I am glad I’m here.” This statement shows your joy at the event. Having a friendly demeanor and words that match are important when networking.
- “I am glad you’re here.” This statement shows your concern in the person you are talking with.
- “I care about you.” This statement shows compassion for the person you are talking with.
- “You need what I know.” This statement demonstrates your authority and highlights your skills and expertise.
What you say with your body is just as important as what you say with your mouth. Body language is a key part of making a positive connection with people you don’t know in professional settings. “Making direct eye contact with the person you are talking with helps you to make a connection with them,” said Dimond. Having open body language is also key when interacting with prospective clients, prospective employers, or people you want to add to your professional network (no crossed arms, hunched shoulder or closed body placement that would discourage other people from interacting with you).
Another tidbit Dimond shared was to make sure your name tag is visible when you are given one in a professional setting. Don’t make people have to work to find or remember your name. If you aren’t given a name tag, pretend you have one anyway and introduce yourself with your name to people you don’t know.
“Don’t Lead with the Sale” but also “Don’t bury the Lead”
Selling yourself to a client, employer or someone you highly regard does not mean you have to be too aggressive. Dimond recommends being generous, energetic and memorable (GEM for short); this will make you stand out from the crowd. Though you don’t want to lead directly with your sales pitch, you also don’t want to mention your pitch so quickly that it can be missed. Dimond told audience members to always end a conversation on a positive note because if you end on a negative note, that will likely be what your new connection remembers most about you.
Use Social Media to Your Advantage
Dimond recommended that attendees use social networks like Linkedin to extend the conversation with professional connections.
“Linkedin is an easy and respected way to get professional recommendations,” says Dimond.
But to get a positive recommendation from a former boss or respected client, it’s a good idea to give a recommendation first. Often people feel inclined to reciprocate if you give them a positive recommendation. You can also use Linkedin to keep in touch with connections by requesting to add them to your network on the social media outlet after an initial meeting.
Dimond showed attendees that successful self-promotion doesn’t have to be as intimidating as it sounds and that making small changes to your body language, word choice and behavior helps professionals make major strides in differentiating themselves from competition in today’s work place.