Networking can be scary, especially when you are new to it. Usually, the hardest part is walking through the door and introducing yourself to others. Once you are talking to others, you may even start to relax and enjoy yourself.
That being said, when you are talking to others at a networking event, it is important that you watch your body language. What you do with your arms and facial expressions can be almost as important as what you are saying.
So, how can you get the most out of an event with your body language? Here are some tips to help.
Maintain Eye Contact – Body Language
When networking, the goal is to connect with others. One of the best ways to do this is by maintaining eye contact. When the other person is talking, they will notice that you are interested because you are looking at them. Even when you are talking, you should maintain eye contact because you want to make sure that they are following you.
Smile When Networking
Your facial expressions matter. Your face needs to feel approachable, not closed off. Keep your face relaxed. People will notice if your face is tense and they will know that you aren’t interested in what they have to say.
It is important when networking that you are standing with a straight back. You should never slouch when you are talking to another person. You want to appear to be open to communication, so you should keep your hands to your side instead of crossed in front of you.
It is natural to fidget, especially when you are nervous or you are standing in one place too long. However, that shows the other person that you are bored with the conversation, and you are looking for a way out.
Playing with your hair and fidgeting while networking can also distract others from the conversations that they are having. You don’t want to interrupt the whole event because you can’t stand still!
Fidgeting and playing with your hair can also be seen as a sign of stress, which isn’t the positive vibe that you should be trying to portray when meeting new people.
Watch Your Toes
You should always point your toes in the direction of the person that you are talking to. If you point them at someone else, it appears like you are more interested in them than you are in the person that you are actually talking to.
Have a Firm Handshake
A firm handshake is really important when meeting someone. You want to appear confident, but your handshake shouldn’t hurt the person. Too firm makes you look aggressive. You also don’t want to give a limp handshake because that looks weak or makes you seem like you are intimidated.
If you are serious about meeting new people at a networking event, you need to work on your body language. You should always keep eye contact while smiling and relaxing your face. You also need to stand tall, without fidgeting. Though it can be really hard to stand still, fidgeting can make it look like you are looking for a way out. You may also distract others from their conversation, which isn’t fair when people are there looking to meet others. You also need a firm handshake, which can show confidence in yourself and your business.
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