Body language can be extremely powerful, especially when it comes to networking and cultivating relationships with others. Within the first few seconds after meeting new people, they will have formed an impression of you. For purposes of effective networking, it’s important that you fine-tune your body language so that you come across the board as warm and approachable. Below are some essential tips to get you going.
- Eye contact – some of the most successful business and political leaders are known for the impressions they make during meetings with others. Their gaze never tends to waver from the eyes of those they are speaking with. Eye contact is a seemingly simple tip that can go a long way towards enhancing your interactions with others. Make a point of practicing eye contact. Within no time, it should stick. However, don’t overdo eye contact as it can make the whole interaction seem a little awkward.
- Arm movement – when speaking to others, you want your arms to give an impression that you’re interested. Any position that shows anxiety, lack of interest or boredom will simply not work for you. That’s precisely what happens when your arms are folded or tucked behind your back. Make sure you avoid these positions.
- Your posture – maintain a proper posture and stand in a way that shows that you’re open and welcoming. This way, you’ll be able to encourage people into a conversation. Avoid leaning on things and standing as if you’re tired or bored. Anxious people often exhibit happy feet that are stepping all over the place. On the other hand, confident and open people will evenly balance their weight. When the weight is one leg, it indicates readiness to move, which means you have little intention of staying. Hold your head still and upright.
- Facial expressions – you obviously need to maintain an interested facial expression to entice other people to mingle with you. This goes hand in hand with eye contact. Think about what your face is saying. Are you smiling or are you holding back a yawn? Of course, yawning while someone else is speaking to you is a surefire way to shut them down, and yet this happens a lot of time during networking interactions.
How you come across in that first encounter goes a long way to determine your networking success. You want others to perceive you as knowledgeable, interested, alert and trustworthy. Work towards developing positive and powerful first impressions. Start by looking in the mirror every day before you leave the house. Look at yourself and ask ‘what message do I send across?’ Learn to be more aware of your body language by getting feedback. What do others say before they even speak a word? Take a trusted friend and ask them to give you an honest feedback of your body language. Work progressively on the four tips pointed out above and you’ll be doing well before you know it!