SUCCESSFUL SOCIAL PRESENCE
Updated: Aug 25, 2018
It is commonly understood that creating bonds with other individuals is one of the fundamental aspects of living. It starts with immediate family members, as a person growths this bond extends to non-family members. Social interactions are pivotal to living a well-rounded life. It comes natural to some, but there are others who struggle to achieve success in this area, and that can present a barrier to relational and career growth.
The inescapable very first area to address social presence is in our external appearance. Simply put, this relates to your attire or fashion, hygiene, and grooming. Though a wrong first impression can be forgiven, it is still a memorable experience.
The next area to consider in the context of social presence is the actual verbal and physical interactions (also known as social etiquette) that occur with others in a specific setting. This can make an interaction memorable or completely forgettable in a social setting. Now let's elaborate on these areas.
Grooming and hygiene: Many of us may think that this subject is not worth mentioning, but the area of grooming and hygiene is very important because many people neglect this area. If you are planning to engage anyone in a social setting, it is at least respectful to ensure the cleanliness of your skin, hair and nails are addressed, this is simple hygiene. A simple trick such as running a brush or comb through your hair goes a long way in bringing a look together. If attention is not paid to grooming and hygiene, the individual you are encountering will translate that as a form of complete disregard to them as an individual, as well as a form of disrespect. If there is a reason for an unhygienic appearance, then an explanation is warranted.
Attire/Fashion: The color, the fit, the specific fashion that an individual puts on has many implications in a social setting. An individual who demands attention can choose to put on something bright can choose to wear red or white. And someone trying not to get noticed can put on something of a darker shade, such as black or brown. The fitting of the attire can be too loose, which can translate as haphazard, careless or messy, or too tight, which can be seen as seductive or suggestive. Not dressing appropriately for the occasion can be not only uncomfortable for you, but for others in attendance.
Social Etiquette: The word social means, group, public, community, civil. Social interaction is how you relate to one or more than one individual around you, there are some commonly accepted rules that dictate how this is done successfully. Though there are numerous mingling skills to employ to achieve a meaningful encounter, there are just a few that are considered the pillars of basic social interactions, and they are the following.
-Go on time, to arrive on time means you care and appreciate the invitation that was extended. If you will be late, ensure it is not more than 15 minutes, as there are often small personal introductions at the beginning of an event. Being late can put you at a disadvantage as you may have missed important tools necessary to engage with others.
-Introduction, prepare how you will introduce yourself and if possible how it may relate to the specific social setting. For example, if you are at a birthday party and you are not familiar with any at the party, but you were invited by the host's spouse (example, the Host's name is Mary, the spouse is John), you can say "Hello, I am Paul, a friend of John, Mary's husband". The person you have just started talking to will have an immediate understanding of your relations, as most of the attendees will know the host (Mary).
It is important to introduce others properly as well. The general rule is from a higher ranking to lower ranking individuals. (A) you site the name of the higher ranking individual first (senior/older person, senior profession, a guest, a guest from out of town, a peer from another company, a customer), (B) state "I present you", (C) site the name of the lesser individual (younger person, junior profession, a host, a local guest, a peer from your company, an employee), respectively.
The last point about an introduction, by customs men, are introduced to women.
-Break the ice, this involves small general conversation topics. There is nothing small about small talk, they go a long way, they help create rapport, you are bound to find something in common with others. This helps establish a level of comfort in the setting, but this also depends on the topic. Good topics are relatable to nearly all and with no potential to offend, some examples are, sports, movies, food, venue, family, work, travel, hobbies, hometown, weather. Bad topics can be offensive, end conversations, create discomfort, for example, politics, religion, financial, sex, death, offensive jokes, prior relationships.
Do not enter conversations involving two people. But if you must, you can say for example, "Excuse me, Hello I am Tina (look at both people at first, then look at the person you intend to address specifically), Mr Brown we met last week at the sports convention and I hope to have an opportunity to talk at a later time, again pardon my interruption", then you can smile and walk away leaving the two to continue to talk.
Pay attention to personal space when talking, the average is 1 1/2 to 4 feet distance, so that the other person does not feel intrusion.
-Table talk, should be light and generalized if serious business or non-business discussions are to occur, wait until after the main course meal.
-Conversation Planning, you can decide ahead of time 3 topics of conversation you can possibly initiate. For example, if you are attending a real estates office grand opening, you can plan to discuss the areas of the city you like, the local shops you have noticed on your way to the event, the current residential market in the city or town you currently are or where you live, if different from the person you are engaging with.
-Monopolization, do no monopolize anyone's time, mingle with more than 1 person in the room. Allow for the person you are speaking with to also engage with others in the setting.
-Eat or Talk, do not do both at the same time.
-Basic table utensils, there are 2 simple things to keep in mind. The utensils will be placed in order to be used. Fork go to the left of the plate, knife and spoon to the right of the plate. Even more simple, remember the acronym FOrKS (F-Forks, O-the round plate, K-Knives, S-spoons, drop the "r").
-Exit, it is important to make a graceful exit by thanking the host/hostess. If this did not occur for some reason, send a note the next day.