How to Polish Your Small-Talk Skills

If you want to make new friends and advance in your career, learn to connect with others through small talk.

Here are 3 simple steps for striking up conversation and making the most of networking events:

Preparation Before A Networking Event

1. Have a few topics of conversation prepared. Stay current with community and world events. Read the latest industry publications. Offer sincere compliments if you like someone’s hat or if you know that they recently won an award.

2. Rehearse answers to common questions. Practice your responses to questions that you hear all the time. Put an interesting or amusing spin on your description of where you work or your hometown.

3. Check your body language. Above all, try to relax. Appearing confident and friendly will help you have a good time and meet more people. You’ll also help those around you to feel more at ease.

Basic Communication Principles

1. Greet people. Let your greetings make a good first impression. Take the initiative to say hello and offer your name. Smile and shake hands. Repeat the other person’s name so you’ll be more likely to remember it.

2. Ask open-ended questions. Keep the dialogue flowing with open-ended questions. Ask people about their impressions and experiences.

3. Practice active listening. Give people your full attention and show your enthusiasm. Turn off your cell phone or at least put it on vibrate if you have to take urgent calls.

4. Enter group conversations. If everyone’s already engaged, you can still find opportunities to be included. When you see two people talking, check first to avoid interrupting something personal. With larger groups, discreetly wait until there’s an opening to make an appropriate comment.

5. Keep it brief. Leave people wanting more. Learn to excuse yourself tactfully by mentioning that you need to speak with someone or get something to eat. Let people know that you appreciated meeting them or hope to see them again soon.

Special Tips for Networking Events

1. Take advantage of easy icebreakers. Networking events are designed for meeting people, so seize the opportunity. It’s natural to talk about why you came and the benefits you’re hoping to achieve. Just take an equal interest in helping others with their goals.

2. Ask for information if you’re a newcomer. If it’s your first time, ask others for their guidance. Many people will be flattered to share their knowledge. Tell the workers at the registration desk that you’re new, and they may point out people on their welcoming committee or individuals in your line of business.

3. Offer assistance if you’re a veteran. If you’re already familiar with the organization, help newcomers feel at home. You may make valuable connections and you’ll create a positive environment for everybody.

4. Exchange introductions. Broaden your network by identifying people you want to meet and mutual colleagues who can help introduce you. Be ready to reciprocate when others ask for introductions. Check the registration sheet for the names and affiliations of interesting people or use business-oriented social networks like LinkedIn to get more ideas.

5. Share business cards. When you’ve had a promising conversation, use your business cards to help make a lasting connection. Offer your card and reiterate any specific reason for staying in touch. When someone gives you their card, use the back to jot down any details you need to remember.

Get comfortable with schmoozing. Improving your small talk skills will help you build your self-confidence and broaden your social and business networks.

Improve Your Powers of Concentration

Improving your powers of concentration will help you get more done in less time. Below are some of the major benefits of developing your ability to focus as well as some practical steps for achieving extreme concentration.

The Benefits of Improved Concentration:

1.      Be more productive. By devoting your full attention to whatever you’re doing at the moment, you’ll produce better quality work in less time. It really is this simple!

2.      Be a better friend. Conversations are more pleasant if you feel like others are really listening to you. Paying attention to others will help you appreciate your family and friends, and understand how to support them when they need it.

3.      Feel more peaceful. Many studies have found that multitasking makes people slower and less effective at performing various tasks. Trying to do too many things at once can cause stress and make you feel less alert. By contrast, focusing on one thing helps to calm your mind.

Training Your Mind To Concentrate:

1.      Focus on one thing at a time. Place your mind on whatever you’re doing in the present moment. Think about how you act when you’re engrossed in a thrilling movie or a new romance and try to duplicate that experience. If you don’t feel passionate about a particular task, look for some meaningful aspect or motivate yourself with the desire to complete it in less time.

2.      Abandon distracting thoughts. Your mind will wander. Remain aware of your thoughts. When you notice a distracting thought, decline to pursue it. Return your attention to your chosen object. Repeat this as often as necessary. With practice, it will get easier.

3.      Meditate. To enhance your progress, try meditating. Sit and focus on your breath or spiritual attainments. You can extend that mindfulness to all your daily activities from eating lunch to playing with your children.

Other Steps to Improve Concentration:

1.      Minimize external distractions. Your restless mind is probably the greatest distraction, but a controlled environment can help too. Turn off your phone and wait until later to check your email. Clear off your desk. If you can’t find a quiet spot, consider using white noise recordings, instrumental music, or earplugs.

2.      Get fully engaged in what you’re doing. It’s easier to focus when you’re actively involved. Take notes in class. Highlight passages while you read. Think about questions you want to ask a speaker. Invent ways to improve a routine household chore.

3.      Vary your activities. While you’re increasing your attention span, it may be helpful to switch from one activity to another to remain alert. So if you feel stuck writing a report, go return some phone calls for a while – you’ll feel rejuvenated when you come back to the report.

4.      Plan regular breaks. Taking breaks can improve your performance. Chat with your co-workers or walk around the block. Reward yourself with an activity you enjoy after completing a difficult project. Just standing up from time to time is refreshing because it helps your brain get more oxygen.

5.      Avoid overloading your schedule. Budgeting your time realistically can make it easier to concentrate. You’ll be less likely to get distracted by worries about getting everything done. If you’re chronically overloaded, you may need to adjust your priorities.

6.      Take care of your health. Your physical health affects all your mental functioning. Get adequate sleep and rest. Maintain a healthy weight by eating a nutritious diet and getting daily exercise.

Your ability to focus will improve with practice. As you learn to concentrate more fully, you’ll enjoy greater peace of mind and productivity.

10 Ways to Improving Low Self Esteem

Self-esteemImproving self esteem is a good thing to do but how do you do it? Physically or subconsciously we all have this desire.

Below are ten things you can do to help boost your self-esteem!

  1. Make a list of things that you want to improve – regarding yourself. Start with how you communicate with others. Check them off as you complete them and then move onto another list of 10.
  2. Start showing a good opinion of yourself to everyone – no you don’t have to be conceded but positivity shines in many ways – never give a negative light about yourself – EVER!
  3. Create a goal for yourself by knowing what you want – find out how the people around you or the ones you meet can help you get closer to your goals. This will help you determine how you can approach each person. Do this always and the results are noticeable.
  4. Get driven and motivate yourself – even if you are not feeling it! Pretend until you do. Let everyone know how any of them can help you in your goals. People who are very driven end up being successful in their careers.
  5. Treat every person that you meet as important – This is a great mindset to develop! You will see how surprising this is!
  6. Give a good handshake and look them in the eye – Don’t be too firm with the shake but nice and firm and not too hard. Look for a character trait you find positive in every person you meet.
  7. Learn to listen – notice what other people say and pay attention. Remember a person’s name and ask again after visiting if you don’t – it’s okay to ask again. Use their name in conversation – this will help tremendously!
  8. Show people that you are listen by nodding or other gestures – People read body language.
  9. Remind yourself that it is not always about you by noticing and responding to others around you.
  10. Do not interrupt a person mentally or verbally – give full attention to that person – it’s rude if you don’t.

These interaction tips will help you greatly on your journey to great self esteem! Good luck :)