Business Networking Meeting
Friday May 16, 2003, 12 noon - 2 pm
Place: Century Palace Chinese Restaurant
Address: 398 Ferrier Street, Markham
Cost: $15 per person, $10 for members (Chinese
Nancy Chan firstname.lastname@example.org
Thomas Qu email@example.com
Kamil Sadiq 905-471-7988
Victor Salazar 416-491-0988 firstname.lastname@example.org
Guest Speaker: Ms. Teresa McGill, Director -
Topic: "First Impressions Count"
To make a good first impression, you need a communication style
that is clear, friendly and confident. This presentation will
teach you five communication techniques to instantly improve your
rapport with the people you meet
Ms. Teresa McGill is a Language and Communication Specialists.
It wasn¹t so long ago when the simple acts of shaking a
stranger¹s hand or dining out in a public restaurant were
considered almost taboo in the SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory
Syndrome) affected GTA. Yet within 24 hours of the World Health
Organization¹s lifting of Toronto from the list of SARS infected
travelling destinations, Asian Business leaders came out 40 strong
showing optimism and enthusiasm in getting back to conducting
and building business in the vibrant Canadian Asian market.
They were attending a networking session of the Asian Canadian
Entrepreneurs and Professionals (ACEP) at the New Century Restaurant
in Markham, Ontario. Among
them were realtors, business educators, import retailers and even
a municipal electoral candidate in Markham¹s Ward 6, who
had all braved metro¹s notorious Friday afternoon long-weekend
traffic on the rainstorm-soaked May 16th to attend.
The luncheon get-together featured guest speaker Tereasa McGill,
Founder of Gandy Associates Language and Communications Specialists.
Ms. McGill spoke
elloquently and informatively on the importance of first impressions
and 5 ways to improve business communications. She cautions that
people form a lasting impression of new acquaintances within the
first minute of meeting them, and that what is conveyed through
speech or actual words spoken accounts for only 10 percent of
that impression. Up to 40 percent of communicaiton is conveyed
through voice and 50 percent or more through body language and
She offers these five pointers on how to improve business communications
based on North American cultural norms:
1. Facial Expression
People born in North America tend to use and expect facial expression
such as eye contact and smiling to show a connection. Listeners
encourage the speaker and show attention and respect by smiling
and nodding. Showing no
eye contact, by a listener, shows disinterest and by a speaker,
implies dishonesty. It¹s important to take local culture
into account when using these techniques because communication
styles are not always universal. Using eye contact and smiling,
for example in East Asian culture, could imply an invitation to
a sexual encounter!"
2. The Handshake
What is considered the ideal handshake by North American standards
is a firm but not hard ³bone-crushing² palm-to-palm
contact that lasts 2 - 3 seconds or through 1 - 3 moderate pumps.
The five types of handshakes to avoid are: the limp ³dead
fish², the over forceful ³bone-crusher² or dominating
hand on top, the too delicate finger-pinch, the over enthusiastic
³water pump² and the directional pulling handshake.
If however, your acquaintance exhibits any of these 5 types of
handshakes, you need to be responsive to accommodate that style.
3. The Rate of Speech
Speaking at the rate of 80 - 150 words per minute is considered
ideal for conducting business. Speaking too quickly increases
the chances for committing errors in speech and does not allow
the listener to fully grasp the ideas being conveyed. This is
especially likely within a community in which English is not the
first language. The speaker might then have to repeat what¹s
been said, wasting time and increasing frustration. Further, having
control over your speech would make you calmer in presenting your
ideas coherently. Also keep in mind that varying your rate of
speech could create greater impact, such as slowing down or pausing
to emphasize a point.
Intonation is the pattern of pitch change in your voice. There
is much variation on it by factors such as culture, female or
male gender, and age differences. A flat voice is considered boring
by normal North American Standards. You can improve intonation
by finding a role model to follow, such as a television or radio
broadcaster. You can change the pitch of your voice for one word
of each sentence. Changing the pitch too often would sound unnatural,
like you¹re singing a song. Using intonation appropriately
creates emotional impact, and can convey enthusiasm, surprise,
sarcasm, aggression or even ask a question. This again must be
applied with cultural sensitivity in mind because of course, Chinese
speakers know that in the Chinese language, changing intonation
can change the actual meaning of words.
Saying your name clearly is important for making a good first
impression. Choose a pronumciation style the listener can understand.
This may mean slowing down and pausing between your family and
given names to give emphasis, adapting a name in another language
(such as using an English name instead of a Chinese name) or shortening
a long and difficult to pronounce name. You can improve your pronunciation
of speech in general by conducting exercises such as by repeating
frequently used sounds. Here are some daily
warm-ups you can do:
Ba ba ba ba...Da da da da...Ga ga ga ga
Badaga, Badaga, Badaga, Badaga, Badaga, Badaga, Badaga
AH ‹ OO ‹ EE... AH ‹ OO ‹ EE...AH ‹
OO ‹ EE
If you¹ ve found this information useful, the ACEP leadership
invites you to attend our next Networking Session and pass on
the message to bring a friend to these gatherings too!