Behavior is key when networking-it makes or breaks the connections, and ultimately, the relationships you build. I’ve spoken before about the differences between approachable or alienating behavior, but I want to take a deeper look into what qualifies behavior as alienating. You may watch this video and suddenly realize that the little nuances you may have passed off as nothing, are actually keeping you from successfully networking.
Here are four ways you may be alienating others when networking:
1. Negative Attitude: Nobody likes a Debbie Downer. Life is hard enough without having to lament about it all the time. If you’re always complaining or focusing on the negative aspects of life, you’re going to turn people off.
2. Closed Off Body Language: There’s a great graphic in the video that will show you what closed off body language looks like, but basically it means standing in a way that only allows for a conversation to happen between two or three people. If you have a bored or scowled look on your face, people won’t want to approach you. Finally, do not cross your arms.
3. Incongruence: Do what you say you’re going to do. Don’t talk a big talk and not back it up. This will lead people to become skeptical of your dependability-which is bad if you’re looking to gain trusted referral partners.
4. Not Acting Interested in People: Be interested more than interesting. A good networker has two ears and one mouth and uses them proportionately.
If you’re still not sure you’re exhibiting these behaviors
Take a trusted friend or referral partner with you to your next event and ask them to notice if you act in any of the above ways; you can do the same for them. Have an honest conversation afterward about what you both noticed and work out ways to improve your behavior. At the next event, try and be aware of yourself and the reactions you get when you change your behavior.
Are you approachable when it comes to mingling at networking events? You may not know that you are the one getting in your own way when it comes to meeting new people and kindling business relationships. But how can you really tell if you are approachable or alienating? Bring a trusted friend or referral partner with you to your next networking event and observe each other’s body language, the tone of voice and words. Afterward, exchange constructive feedback with the intent of helping each other become better referral partners.