90 Seconds to Network New Friends

Stop fretting about how to leave a good impression. Study shows that if you manage to capture their attention within the first 90 seconds, chances are they are your friend in the next 5 seconds. It is not hard to break the ice. I used to practise saying hi in front of the mirror and never dare to step out, until one day where I say hi and smile, expecting to be rejected with a cold look. Instead, I have a reply and I made new friends.

First 5 seconds: People judge you by your first impression

Pay attention to your personal hygiene (shower, brush your teeth, check your breath) and dress attractively. You don't have to be fancy or overdressed; just avoid looking too sloppy or unwashed.

Next 6th – 10th Seconds: Smile to project a positive attitude

Not many people feel comfortable smiling to complete strangers. Do you know that a smile is a universal sign to show you are approachable, friendly and your intentions are good? It brings out your positive personality, which is appealing to most people. If you have problem smiling naturally, try thinking of something that makes you happy.

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Next 11th – 30 seconds: Start a Conversation

If you meet someone in a workshop or seminar, try to start in a formal way by introducing yourself and to ask about the seminar as a starting topic. For example: Hi, Is this your first time to this seminar? I have been to a few and it was good. By the way, my name is xxxx? I work for ABC Company. How can I address you? If you meet someone in a party or in an open space event, start a conversation in a casual way. Give the person a compliment that leads to a question: "Wow, that's a really nice bracelet – where did you get it?"

Next 31st - 60th seconds: Engage in the Conversation Unless the person look insecure or just not in the mood to talk (it happens), your opening line will get some kind of good response. Try to talk about yourself and to share some information. If the other party is keen to share his or her views, they will make a statement such as, “I agree with you ….” Avoid criticizing someone you do not like such as your boss or colleagues during the first conversation. Do start with a positive topic on what you like rather than what you do not like. 

Next 61th – 90th Seconds: Be a Good Listener Some people just keep talking and sharing their life stories. Do not over do it. Listen and pause at times to make them feel important and worthwhile. Do keep eye contact. This is the best way to show that you are focus. Don't stare into space or look at other people, and never look at your mobile phone. When the person makes a statement or relates a story, give a response that expands on the topic or otherwise shows that you understand. For example: “It looks interesting. How do you do it?” 

Time Up! It's been 90 seconds.Did you make a connection? If no, it's okay. You won't strike gold every time, and people aren't always in the mood to be social. Do not be discouraged. Just politely disengage yourself ("Nice talking to you. I need to go – talk to you later!") and then find a new person to approach. If yes, great! Keep talking for as long as it's comfortable, and then when it's time to go, be sure to exchange phone numbers and/or email addresses so you can stay in touch. Then be sure to follow up. It may be another good friendship or something else. You'll only find out by taking the initiative and contacting the person to talk or hang out again.