Have you found yourself in a social situation where someone was standing a little too close for comfort? It is a safe bet that we have all experienced an awkward situation where we felt uncomfortable. As we continue our conversation about the importance of networking, it is important to speak to the topic of body language as it can speak volumes about a person. When attending networking events or even interacting with colleagues in the office we want to be approachable, communicate confidence and most importantly make others around us feel comfortable.
Some people are inherently comfortable with walking up to a new person and introducing themselves or attending an event not knowing anyone. While there are others that are terrified by just the thought! No matter where you fall on that spectrum it is equally important to become a master of body language as it communicates a first impression to those around us.
Non-verbal cues communicate a lot! Have you ever found yourself in a conversation where the person you are talking to had a blank stare and was giving no indication that they were actually listening to you? That is exactly what we want to avoid! When making an effort to build new relationships it is important that we help those around us feel valued and heard! Wipe that blank stare and make small gestures such as a smile, head nod, eye contact, forward leans. These small non-verbals communicate to others that we are interested in what they are saying and value the conversation.
Distance is also a non-verbal cue that should not be overlooked. Everyone has different comfort levels when it comes to their personal space. At a busy networking event personal space is generally defined anywhere between 2 and 5 feet. Although it can vary based on the situation and there is not a specific amount of space that is comfortable for everyone, the best rule of thumb is read the non-verbals of those you are interacting with. Are they receptive to your conversation or are they stepping back, touching their face or leaning away? If so, that may be an indication that you are a bit too close for comfort.
Overall, mirroring the body language of those around you, being receptive of non-verbal cues and being conscientious of personal space are all great tips on mastering body language. Most importantly, be genuine and smile!
Ready for more? Consider scheduling a personalized career coaching session. During our time we can dive deep into creating a job search strategy, maximizing networking events, professional resume development, etc. Looking forward to working with you!
Cheers to a great day!