It seems like the right approach to networking: Figure out what the person you’re connecting with wants to hear, and then work to impress them.
But tactics like self-promotion and ingratiation can backfire. Research shows there are two reasons why: Trying to anticipate what will impress the other person both increases your anxiety and makes you feel inauthentic.
So don’t adjust your behaviour to cater to others’ preferences. Instead, focus on aspects of yourself that you want to highlight. Talk about topics that interest you. Ask questions that you are genuinely curious to know the answers to. Don’t worry about projecting a particular image. Feeling at ease goes a long way toward leaving a good impression.