"55% of communication is body language, 38% is the tone of voice, and 7% is the actual words spoken."— Psychology Today
Your wrong body language might be killing you silently and you don't know about it. Did you know, in the first meeting, people assess you within the first seven seconds? Yes, that's true! That's why displaying your credibility through your body language— is the key to your networking success.
Let's talk about 6 most important body language factors that you should master to make an impactful presence in your next networking event.
6 Factors to keep in Mind while Professional Networking
1. Have a firm handshake
When you meet someone professionally, you need a firm handshake. Try to stand straight and keep your hands open. Although, don't get too aggressive or too weak while a handshake as a too-firm handshake might hurt the other person and a limp handshake will make you look weak and underconfident.
2. Work on your hand gestures.
Gestures increase the value of someone’s message by 60 percent!
Adding purposeful hand gestures can make your professional networking double effective.
A study done by Holler and Beatie revealed that the most-watched TED Talks were done by people who used effective hand gestures. In this study, they analyzed top and bottom TED Talks and got an amazing discovery that the most popular TED Talks used an average of 465 hand gestures during their talk while the unpopular TED Talks used half of the hand gestures in the same period.
3. Work on your facial expressions
Your facial expressions can make you come across as warm or cold, confident or lost.
Try not to look disgusted, in anger, afraid, or sad as this will lower your self-confidence. Rather look interested, engaged, keen when talking to people. Be authentic with your expressions, then only you will be able to make an impression on people you are networking with.
Observe your audience/group and try to present your expression in a way that aligns with them. For example, if your audience is talking about something emotional and they are expressing their emotions, don't be afraid to add yours as well.
And use the power of smiling to make you memorable. Smiling will not only make you look pleasant and confident, but it also makes you stress-free. It makes it easy for people to connect with you when you smile.
4. Maintain a good eye contact
Maintaining en eye contact can establish your dominance in a conversation.
People should make eye contact 60 to 70 percent of the time when speaking to others to create an emotional connection. - Quantified Analytics, a communications analytics company
Try to maintain a balance between looking at someone too much and too little. Keep yourself relaxed and focus on what you are trying to say. As you get comfortable with conversation, you will be able to make good eye contact.
5. Work on your posture.
My vote goes to being your own best self rather than for trying to be "pose conscious".
Although personal space varies by culture, don’t make people feel uncomfortable by standing too close. In this day and age— that particularly applies the most to the opposite gender.
Don’t try to get in anyone's space unless you have a relationship with them. In North American cultures, personal space is approximately arm's-length away and we should adopt this culture everywhere.
6. Listen to understand, not to reply
To be interesting— be interested. Professional networking is not only about bragging about yourself, you need to listen to your audience as well, carefully. Because your audience can easily identify whether you are listening to them and understanding what they want to say or not.
Don't fold your arms, ignore distractions, just smile, concentrate carefully on what is being said, ask follow-up questions and try to give your opinion.
Becoming more aware of your body language is crucial to your networking success. However, it's not that hard if you put in the right and required efforts.
The four factors that we have shared with you, i.e, having a firm handshake, taking care of your facial expressions, maintaining good eye contact with balance, and listening carefully can be a sure-shot strategy to help you excel in your professional networking event.
What else do you do to make your networking successful?