Body language can be an extremely powerful or attractant or deterrent when it comes to building relationships with others. Could you be unknowingly undermining your networking efforts through your body language?
Here’s a good experiment to implement, sooner rather than later. The next time you’re out networking, take along a trusted friend and have him observe your body language. Here are several things you can ask him to focus on regarding your performance at this event:
- Eye contact. Are you making good eye contact throughout the conversation? Or are you looking behind the person to see who else is at the event?
- Arm movement. What are your arms doing? Are they folded (“I’m bored”) or tucked behind your back (“I’m interested”)?
- Positioning. Are you standing in a manner that is open and welcoming, or blocking people out of your conversation? Are you leaning on something, as if bored or tired? Are you unable to shake hands because you’re juggling a plateful of food?
- Facial expressions. Are you smiling, or holding back a yawn? Are you showing interest? What does your face say?
Take time to discuss your friend’s observations and reactions. Listen to the feedback, become more aware, and make adjustments accordingly. Our body language is primarily subconscious–we’re usually not aware of it, or the hidden messages it sends. That’s why we need the help of someone we trust to give us honest feedback.
People check you out visually within the first seven seconds of meeting you. With that in mind, try these two actions in the next few weeks to help ensure that you are making positive and powerful first impressions:
- Look in the mirror before leaving the house and ask yourself, “What message am I sending to those who are meeting me for the first time? What opinions will they have of me before I even open my mouth?”
- Become more aware of your body language by getting feedback. What are you saying without speaking a word? Take someone with you to your next networking function and ask them to provide honest, direct feedback on your body language.
After you’ve taken these actions, please come back and leave a comment sharing what important things you learned–we’d all like to hear your thoughts!