Let your smile be your calling card. Could it be that simple? I’ve written a lot about networking. I’ve posted more than a dozen blogs. In the blogs I’ve outlined what to do, what not to do, who to connect with and how to connect. I’ve advised where to network and why it matters. But…I may have missed the simplest and most important networking strategy of all—smile.

Let Your Smile be Your Calling Card

Is That All it takes?

There’s a little more to it, but smiling might be the most important key to successful networking. People like to chat with people who smile. People avoid frowners. At a networking event, it’s best not to be avoided. (Ya think?) In this Psychology Today post, they share, “…each time you smile at a person, their brain coaxes them to return the favor. You are creating a symbiotic relationship that allows both of you to release feel good chemicals in your brain, activate reward centers, and make you both more attractive…” What better ingredient for a successful networking introduction could there be? Creating symbiosis, a feeling of well-being, and attraction is a good start. Compelling connections are based on mutual needs and interests, but they don’t always start there, do they? Sometimes it starts with a smile.

It Works Both Ways

Your smile isn’t only attractive and comforting to others; it’s good for you. Livestrong.com states, “Smiling can lift your spirits. A study conducted by the British Dental Health Foundation showed the act of smiling to dramatically improve one’s mood. Dr. Nigel Carter, foundation CEO, stated “We have long been drawing attention to the fact that smiling increases happiness both in yourself and those around you, so it is good to receive the backing of this scientific research.” Smiling releases endorphins, it reduces stress; it may add to an individual’s longevity, and it puts you in the right frame of mind to network.

Back to Networking

Here’s the plan. At your next networking opportunity you’re going to smile. You’re going to smile at your friends, the other guests, and the speakers. You’re going to be so damn happy that people will be drawn to you like a magnet. And here’s HOW you’re going to accomplish this.

  • Practice smiling before you go—seriously. Take a few minutes in front of a mirror and check out your smiling demeanor. The practice is worthwhile…and it puts you in the right frame of mind.
  • Solicit a smiling buddy. Even if they don’t want to smile have them keep an eye on you. Agree on a signal before the event. Probably not, “Hey, you’re not Smiling!”
  • Attempt to get as many people to smile back at you as you can. Make it a game, keep score. Beat your smiling buddy.

There You Have it

Of all the advice I’ve shared about networking. All the complicated, time-consuming assignments like writing an elevator pitch, vetting the attendees, and planning your time usage—this may be the best advice I’ve given about networking. Smile. Try it. Right Now. Smile. Really. Can you feel it? It’s good, isn’t it?

How Can I Help You?

I’d always considered myself an effective networker. I’m friendly, easy to talk to, and I’ve never met a stranger. However, none of that makes me a good networker – it makes me outgoing. If I wanted to be the most effective networker I could be, I needed a plan. That’s how my networking workbook, Help Networking started.

I like to help people and organizations, but I have three criteria I consider before taking an assignment – I believe in what the organization stands for, I know I can help, and it looks fun. If you have any questions, Contact Me. 

Does your business have a management training plan? Many organizations, large and small, use my book, The New Manager’s Workbook a crash course in effective management, as the basis for their leadership development program. Check it out.

Photo by Leon on Unsplash