Wear your smile to connect with people
After being transplanted to the US, one thing I still enjoy here is to travel around for a quick vacation, go to HR conferences and networking events, meet people, give handshakes and hugs to those who I meet on social media and continue a meaningful conversation. And it opened up a lot of avenues for me like being on the National and various State SHRM Social Media team, co-hosting DrivethruHR, running India HR LIVE show and getting recognized through many of the top HR outlets. And yes, I was able to successfully establish Your HR Buddy blog too. And I am super glad when someone tells me – You are that ‘HR Buddy’ right?! Yes, I am!!
If you had talked to me at least once or twice you might already know that I am an easy going extrovert. But am I always an extrovert? Probably not!
Coming from India and a culture that is conservative, it was and is always hard for me to start and engage in small talk (I am still working on that). Small talk is so common here in the US and I wrote about it here. So occasionally I get nervous around people when I am out of any subject to talk about. But I wanted to connect with people so badly and I want them to relate to me. It’s just me pushing myself to be one among the tribe and still be who I am as a person. So how do I overcome my weakness?!
Guess what, I start with a ‘smile’.
I wear my smile first when I interact with anyone. That makes it easier for them to open up to me and connect to who I am as a person.
In fact I started smiling more after getting to know about the US culture. Because if you know someone or not or if it is a total stranger you will always get a smile back or at least a nod when you make an eye contact with them. That’s the way we acknowledge people in this part of the world.
So now the question is ‘Do I smile when I am anxious inside?’. Yes, I do and I am sure that some of you can identify with that… I try to hide my nervousness behind that smile and start talking to people around me.
It is true that a smile can brighten up your day and it can wash away your nervousness too.
So smile often, don’t make anything hard on yourself. Because you know what, people are not that complicated.
What do you think? How often do you smile? And what are your networking tactics that you have never told anyone?