Networking can be challenging. You may not know what to say to strangers, including how to introduce yourself. To others, this can come across as being timid or that you are unsure of yourself. Do you want to demonstrate your confidence and leadership and introduce yourself like a boss? Do not do these three things when networking:
1. Don’t say, “Hi. My name is…”
Leaders introduce themselves, not their names. They simply say their names without any preface.
When you introduce yourself, try not to say, “Hi. My name is Jessica.” Walk up to the person and say “Jessica Smith” while making eye contact and offering a nice, firm handshake. It demonstrates your confidence and assertiveness. Here, less is more impactful.
2. Don’t mention (at first) too much about yourself.
Leaders know that others are more important than themselves. When you introduce yourself to the other person, try to refrain from saying too much about you at first. Ask about them, their career, and their professional goals. Listening has three advantages: It helps you to learn, stay curious and be likable.
Listening provides you the opportunity to understand and learn the person’s interests, priorities and challenges. You can use this information to later address what the other person said and better demonstrate your value.
Listening also keeps the other person curious. All the while they are talking about themselves, they remain interested in learning about you. Think of a networking introduction like a presentation. International world champion of public speaking Dananjaya Hettiarachchi says, “If your title tells the audience what you are going to talk about, you have a bigger chance of losing the audience. But if your title creates curiosity, you have won the audience over.” Don’t show all your cards at the beginning, and you will have a better chance of the other person remaining interested in you.
Further, listening makes you likeable. People want to be heard and understood. Listen to them. Look at them, and never look at your phone.
3. Don’t tell them you want a job.
Leaders know that long-term success is based on relationships, and that is what networking is all about. It is not transactional, which is what asking for a job is when you meet someone for the first time. Don’t lead with asking for a job. Don’t end with asking for a job. Don’t ask, period.
Instead, share your future goals. You could say that you are looking to advance at a company that has a social mission and provides its employees with international opportunities. Don’t ask for a job. Rather, share what you envision the next step in your career to be.
Sharing your future goals does two things. It tells the person you are looking for a job without saying it. It also lets them know the type of opportunities they might share with you if they come across something.
Networking is a tough business, and getting off on the right foot is crucial to advancing your career. Before your next chance to network, think about how you are going to introduce yourself. Leverage this opportunity to show your confidence and leadership.
This article first appeared on Forbes