When I shoot a wedding, I walk through a room with a hundred people I’ve never met before (maybe not literally a hundred but you get what I mean). That gives me a hundred (or something) opportunities to make an impression with a new person who could be one day be a potential client. For this reason, it is absolutely vital for me as a business woman to make an amazing and memorable impression. I’ve learned the secret to becoming friends with anyone is possessing the ability to make them feel comfortable. Here are six fool proof tricks to put people at ease, and become their new best friend:
1. Be approachable. Walk into the room with a smile on your face. A smile is worth its weight in gold. Smiling immediately helps people feel comfortable around you because it says “I am happy to see you.” So often we avoid conversing with strangers because we don’t know if we will be rejected. Greeting people with a smile shows you will be happy to engage in conversation with them. Now, you just need to make sure you are presenting yourself as someone others will want to converse with. So! Put yourself together nicely.
2. Touch. Make conscious, friendly and light physical contact when you meet people. Don’t get in their personal space, but make warm contact by gently touching their arm or a shoulder. As humans, we are wired to crave physical contact and breaking the barrier of touch can strengthen the connection we feel towards each other.
3. Ask General Questions. When I shoot a wedding and I don’t know anyone, I need to learn a little about everyone. One way I get to know people is by helping them get to know each other. I do this by asking silly little questions about one person to another person within their vicinity. If the two people don’t know each other I encourage them to talk to each other. When you help get the conversational ball rolling you are helping people feel comfortable.
4. Find the beauty in every single person. There’s not one person I’ve ever photographed that I couldn’t find something remarkable or beautiful about. Whether it’s something physical or something wonderful about the way they carry themselves. Maybe it’s a certain shyness within them, or a twinkle in their eye. It is my job as a photographer to find those certain special qualities in people and bring them out in their photos. I then always let them know what that particular quality is. Getting your photo taken is a particularly vulnerable experience, that’s why so many people absolutely hate being photographed. So, I cannot stress the importance of genuine compliments enough. A genuine compliment instills confidence in people, which again puts them at ease.
5. Be silly. Don’t ever leave home without your silly side. Don’t be afraid to laugh at yourself. If you hear a song you like, dance to it! Have fun. Don’t think about whether or not you look stupid, because who really cares? People will laugh at that, and you always want to be the person who makes other people smile.
6. Be helpful. This is maybe the most important tip I have. Always be on the lookout for someone who might need help with something and extend that hand. If you can help prevent a moment of inconvenience or distress that you have successfully made someone else’s day a little bit brighter.
As a photographer, getting amazing photos is only one part of my job. The other part is making sure I had a positive impact on arguably one of the most important days of someone’s life. After weddings, I know I was successful if I’m told “everyone loved you,” and that is typically the case. When you make people feel good, even if it’s just for a blip of time, they will remember you. They’ll remember you when they get married, they’ll remember you when their friends get married and they’ll recommend you. If you look at everyone you meet in your life as a potential client, you are conditioning yourself to treat everyone kindly and graciously. I challenge you to try to make a random connection each day. Give yourself the small mission of making one stranger smile a day watch the positive energy work its magic on your life!
Always Make Healthy Choices...Vivian