Body language can be extremely powerful when it comes to networking and building relationships with others. Within the first seven seconds of meeting you, people check you out visually.
According to BNI founder and entreprenuer.com contributing writer Ivan Misner, you should keep the following four key factors in mind when rubbing shoulders with prospects:
1. Eye contact. Some of the most powerful and successful business leaders in the world are known for the impressions they make during face-to-face meetings. Their gaze never wavers from the eyes of the person they are speaking with, making them feel as if they are the most important person in the room. With a little practice, anyone can do this.
Are you making good eye contact throughout the conversation? Or are you looking behind the person to see who else is in the room?
2. Arm movement. If you are speaking to someone and your arms are in a position that gives even a subliminal hint that you’re not interested, you’re not going to give off a positive impression.
What are your arms doing? Are they folded, signifying boredom, or tucked behind your back, indicating interest?
3. Your stance. Make an effort to stand in a manner that is open and welcoming, rather than 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?
4. Facial expressions. Maintaining an interested facial expression goes hand in hand with maintaining eye contact. Are you smiling, or holding back a yawn? Are you showing interest? What does your face say?
Remember that much of your future networking success rides on how you come across in that first encounter. You want people to perceive you as alert, interested, knowledgeable and trustworthy.
The Next-Mark team frequently assists clients with identifying and fine-tuning their unique body language habits to boost media interviewing skills and reduce presentation apprehension. There’s no need to keep your fingers crossed. If you need advice, we’re only a phone call away.