Recently, a friend of mine went to a class reunion where she took a couple hundred photos of the event. She posted the pictures on her Facebook page so that the attendees could all share in the memories, make comments and repost on their own Facebook page. Since we are both into photography and editing I decided to look through the photos one day. I found myself asking her “Who is this lady” or “What does he do for a living”? While I knew no one in the photos it dawned on me that I was drawn to ask only about certain people. Once I had this realization I had to analyze WHY. I started to imagine that I was walking into the room in each one of the photos. Who in that photo would I feel comfortable approaching and making a connection with – in other words – networking with? I did this exercise photo after photo after photo. Suddenly it became clear. I wasn’t drawn the person that was most well dressed or to a particular gender. I wasn’t drawn to someone because they looked “smart” or “pretty” or “laid back”. However, there was one thing that every one of the people I was drawn to had in common – they were SMILING!
Smiles are amazing things. Smiles are much more than just a facial expression. A smile can represent feelings and is a very powerful non-verbal form of communication. A genuine smile conveys confidence as well as putting people at ease. Patti Wood, in her post “Smile and the World Smiles with You” tells us that smiles go as far back as the cavemen. To quote Patti, “Though they did not attend a lot of cocktail parties where they needed to smile and make small talk, our caveman ancestors did run into other cavemen they did not know. So they smiled as they approached a stranger to say, “I am harmless. Don’t pick up your spear and kill me.” In fact, it is the oldest form of expression –to show a desire to cooperate. So even when the smile was a football field away, the caveman noticing his approaching knew the smile was safe and he shouldn’t be afraid.”
For RFN, the symbol of the “red feather” is just like us wearing our smiles on our name badges. It’s hard to smile 100% of the time while you are talking with others, eating/drinking or concentrating on a presenter. At conferences, Kelly and I always have a red feather in our badge holder. During the conference we encourage others who are open to meeting people, networking, welcoming the lone traveler into their fold, to do the same. When you see the red feather you know that the person donning it is a safe haven; someone you can approach and be welcomed with a smile and a handshake. This concept has allowed me, Kelly and all the other “feathers” to not only provide a place of security for others but it has also allowed us to make great personal and professional connections.
So the next time you are with a group at a function remember to smile. Your smile will shine as a warm welcome to others and you will find yourself with being rewarded with meeting some awesome people and quite possibly developing worldwide friendships that in many cases will be lifelong.
If you enjoyed this post please share it with a friend and let me know by giving me virtual thumbs up either on Twitter at @chelelawson, emailing me at email@example.com , or leaving me a comment on our Facebook page.
Thanks for reading~