Researchers have found out that humans do not see the world as it is. Instead, we see the world as perceive it. Knowing that perception is a major reality affecting factor can help to understand that businesses are influenced by that, too.
One significant part of business that is largely affected is networking. Generally speaking, all kinds of businesses involve meeting people. Although several job roles require more human interactions than the others, applying the following 12 x 12 x 12 rules, which are taken from the book titled Networking Like a Pro by Ivan Misner and Brian Hilliard, to create a good first impression and broader network can be helpful for the business.
Basically, this rule involves three questions:
- How do you look from 12 feet away? Do you look the part?
- How do you look from 12 inches away? Does your attitude and body language reflect what they first saw?
- What are the first 12 words out of your mouth?
If you plan on meeting potential customers, you might want to be seen professional and convincing, making sure that your looks and actions depict those characters will go a long way. If you intend to collaborate or find a business partner, you might want to find someone who is trustworthy and reliable, a candidate that comes late to his first meeting with you may just be crossed out from the list the minute s/he shows up.
Three main aspects highlighted in the perception rules are looks, attitude and words. Let’s go over the specifics of the 12 x 12 x 12 rule
1. Looks (How do you look from 12 feet away?)
Appearance is key in this aspect. No matter how much the significance of looks is denied, the truth has shown that most people tend to judge others from the way they look. That is why appearance has to be the number one priority. In the 12 x 12 x 12 rules, the key guideline is to check how you look from a distance of twelve feet. If you want to be taken seriously, wearing casual outfit does not give the expected impression.
On the other hand, if you want to be seen fun, wearing formal clothes and tying your hair tight into a bun will make people think otherwise. This matches what Darlene Price shares in her book titled Well Said! Presentations and Conversations That Get Results. According to her, clothing plays a big part in this area. As the president of Well Said, Inc., she realizes the importance of clothes we wear and the fact that it affects the way we are valued in terms of financial success, job suitability, trustworthiness, etc.
Personal hygiene is to be addressed, as well. Wearing dirty looking shoes to a meeting with a client is not likely to bring the desirable results. Looking neat and clean is important.
2. Attitude (How do you look from 12 inches away?)
Your attitude is clearly shown from your body language, which includes facial expressions, gestures, and posture. When meeting someone, especially if it is for the first time, smiling at them convey a message of openess and friendliness. When conversing, crossed arms does not convey positive attitude. It shows you are being defensive. Leaning a bit towards the interlocutor means that you are interested. That is why crossing arms and moving your body away from the conversation are not good ideas.
Apart from such small gestures and posture, looking confused, trying to find your name card when exchanging one gives off the message that you need to be more organized.
Make sure that when you’re talking to others, you have a positive, upbeat attitude.
3. Words (What are the first 12 words out of your mouth?)
The first twelve words you say when meeting someone (new) is the most important as there is a big chance that your personalities will be judged based on the words. This goes along with the fact that normally adults spend around 20 seconds paying attention to the interlocutor’s response. Preparing yourself to give out succinct answers and avoiding drawn-out ones, especially before a big event at work, is wise.
Over a period of time in the business, you will notice that there are questions more commonly asked than others. Knowing the questions, you should try creating brief, informative answers to those questions. In the book, you can find an example of a good answer to a simple, common question, like “what do you do?”. While people tend to simply answer, “I’m a consultant.” The book writers teach us how to better respond to such questions by mentioning a bit of information about the job. Therefore, additional detail, which can be a mini commercial of the job, like “I work with medium sized companies to help attract clients” is added.
Mind you, try to keep the tone for “the commercial” genuine no matter how often it has been repeated.
Implementing the rules and radiating their right vibe can increase the possibilities of successful networking. Some even have claimed that the applications of the rules have enabled them to change contacts into clients.