Best body language for networking
It’s true….you really do never get a first chance to make a first impression which is why it’s the small things that really do count at networking. This is why in previous blogs we have always encouraged newbie networkers to wear something memorable or have an innovative tag line. However, beyond actively engaging in activity that helps people remember you, it is also imperative that you react to you co-networkers and make sure you a remembered for all the right reasons. Which is why body language is so darn important….so here are our five top tips on effective body language.
1. Arms crossed
Having your arms crossed when someone speaks to you suggests to them: you are closed off, uninterested and generally not really in the mood. All this may well be true. However, even so, it is important during networking, that you give off an impression of being open, friendly and warm. Try, instead, to tuck your arms behind your back when someone is speaking to you – sending off the subliminal message that you are, indeed, interested in what they have to say.
2. Eye contact
Obviously we are not suggesting that you engage in some form of elaborate eye staring competition with your co-networker. Not only will that hurt your eyes, but it will make you seem more than a little creepy. However, do make sure your eyes remain in contact with the person you are talking to and not fixed say, on the clock, or on someone else in the room.
3. Personal space
This one really is vital. You absolutely do not want to get too close to someone; it comes across as daunting, scary and downright aggressive. You want them to get to know, like and trust you, not to be concerned over the state of their personal belongings. So take a big breath, take a step back and make sure to keep around an arm’s length between you and with whomever you are speaking.
We actually think this one is the most important, because it really is true what they say – a smile will light up the whole room. So even if someone is speaking to you ad nauseum about a topic that couldn’t interest you less or you are actually thinking about tonight’s supper and what time the kids are due home from school, just smile. If you catch someone’s eye, smile. If you see someone looking sad: Smile. Obviously, this should be kept natural and you should avoid looking like a Cheshire Cat, but generally the old adage almost certainly rings true….Smile and the world smiles with you.
5. Hand gestures
Interestingly a recent survey found that the least popular TED talks used an average of 272 hand gestures whilst the most popular used a fantastic 465. Almost double! A subtle addition to a conversation; but one that really can serve to engage others. We really would recommend using hand gestures as a powerful road to more effective networking.
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