Business Networking

Photo for Business Insights blog-Mastering Body Language in Business Networking

Mastering Body Language in Business Networking

One of the benefits of networking with people face-to-face vs. online is that you can see their reactions and get a “read” on them. At the same time, they can do the same with you. On the plus side, you can convey your interest and genuineness more easily. On the downside, you must be more aware than ever about your body language and expressions.

Here are four of the most important components of body language that you need to pay attention to:

  1. Your posture

The way you stand can communicate how open you are to being approached, your energy level, your professionalism, and even the way you were brought up. Didn’t your mother ever tell you stand up straight?

Make sure you do stand up straight, but not as if you’re in the military. You want to appear open and friendly, not rigid and formal. If you slouch, you may look tired or unenthusiastic. Find a happy medium where you stand up straight with your shoulders back, far enough away from the other person to allow personal space, and with a sense of energy.

  1. Arm movement

Gestures and where you put your hands when you’re not using them are both elements of body language that communicate different things. Waving your arms around while you talk may seem to portray excitement, but it can also be distracting. Putting your hands in your back pockets may be more casual and comfortable, but it can also look unprofessional. Crossing your arms is also a big no-no in many circles since it communicates a resistance to new ideas.

You may be completely unaware of your common gestures, so ask a friend to pay attention to them during a practice conversation.

  1. Facial expressions

People will be looking at your face more than anywhere else, so be careful of your facial expressions. If you frown at what someone is saying, they will immediately assume you disagree or disapprove. Worse, someone may capture that on camera or see it from across the room.

Keeping a slight smile on your face is a good habit to practice no matter what situation you’re in. It makes you look warm and friendly – like someone that others would like to meet.

  1. Eye contact

If there is no other body language you focus on, it should be eye contact. The best networkers use their eyes to communicate the feeling that you are the person they are most interested in at that moment. And never let your eyes drift to other people in the room, as if you’re looking for someone better to talk to.

Practice having a conversation with a friend, preferably in a room full of people, and ask them for feedback afterwards on what your eye contact felt like. Did they feel as if you were not fully engaged? Did they feel like you were “staring them down”?

Now go stand in front of a mirror and practice having a conversation with an imaginary person. Answer and ask questions you might normally talk about in a networking event. As you talk, pay attention to your body language and what you need to work on.

Photo for Business Insights blog-Your Social Media Profile - The First Stop in Business Networking

Your Social Media Profile – The First Stop in Business Networking

One of the first things people are going to do when you are networking with new contacts is check out your social media profiles. Therefore, it’s important to make sure you are providing a consistent image and current information.

To make sure your profiles are professional and are portraying the image you want, include all the following elements:

A Professional Photo

Never leave the generic, faceless shadow on your profile. People are much more likely to connect with you when there’s a face put to the name. Also, many people will ONLY connect with you if they can see your face.

Your Tag Line

Most social sites have a space for a brief “tag line” where you can state your title, business, or other statement that describes you in just a few words. Make sure this pithy sentence is geared for your target prospects. Using keywords will also help people find you.

The Details

Include more detailed information about your skills, background, experience, etc. in the appropriate places in your profile. This is your opportunity to explain that tag line and show off a bit, so make the most of it. In some sites, like LinkedIn, you can even add media to your profiles, such as videos and slide presentations.

Contact Information

Don’t forget to include information on how people can get in touch with you. Include your preferred contact methods, such as phone, email, website, Skype, address, etc. If you have both a professional and personal blog, you can include both so that people can learn more about you.

Social Proof

If you’re using a network like LinkedIn, take advantage of their Recommendations and Endorsements features. Ask a few select customers and colleagues to write short recommendations for you. Give them a little guidance on what type of recommendation you need so that they have some ideas. It will make it easier for them to write it, and you’re more likely to get a recommendation that will help your networking goals.

Review all your major social media profiles on a regular basis to keep them up to date and consistent. This is especially important if you change jobs or start a new business. It’s also important to keep an up to date photo, so if yours is 10 years old, it’s probably time to take a new one!

Photo for Business Insights blog-How to Use Your Smart Phone for Business Networking

How to Use Your Smart Phone for Business Networking

You just found out someone’s available to meet you for a networking meeting and you need some quick information. Here are some tips for using your smart phone to get quickly prepared.

Find a place to meet

If you need to suggest a place to meet, open your favorite app to get local recommendations for a place for coffee, lunch, drinks, etc. Stay away from the bar scene for cocktails. You need a quiet place where you can hear and be heard.

Apps to try: Find Places (Android), AroundMe (Apple), Yelp!, Where To? (Apple) 

Find directions for where you’re going

You’ve figured out where you’re meeting. Now you need to find directions for getting there. Make sure you pick the most reliable route if you’re in a hurry. For instance, it may be best to take the subway rather than getting caught in traffic in a large city.

Apps to try Google Maps, HopSpot, Google Places 

Research the person you’re meeting

Google is great, but when you’re on the go it can be difficult to scroll through all those search results. However, there are a few apps that will help you do the essential research quickly. LinkedIn is a first source for business information about the person, and you should be able to see a picture of the person you’re meeting.

Apps to try LinkedIn, 123people

Have your business card ready to share via email

You can just rely on sharing your physical, stock business card. Or you can be prepared with some digital options. For example, QR code on your business card can send people to your contact page. You can also have an email-ready version of your business card and be prepared to scan the other person’s card right into your contact database.

Apps to try: WorldCard Mobile, ScanBizCards, ScanLife: QR Code Reader

Take notes on what you talked about

Use your smart phone to take quick notes during your meeting on key points your discussed, names of potential referrals, contact information or other reminders. Some apps, like Evernote, will sync this information to all your other digital versions of the app on your computer or other devices.

Apps to try Evernote, email (send one to yourself), Contacts Journal CRM (Apple)

The last one mentioned, Contacts Journal CRM, is a full contact and customer relationship management app.

What’s your favorite app you use when on the go and networking?
Photo for Business Insights blog-How to Master Body Language in Business Networking

How to Master Body Language in Business Networking

One of the benefits of networking with people face-to-face vs. online is that you can see their reactions and get a “read” on them. At the same time, they can do the same with you. On the plus side, you can convey your interest and genuineness more easily. On the downside, you have to be more aware than ever about your body language and expressions.

Here are four of the most important components of body language that you need to pay attention to:

  1. Your posture

The way you stand can communicate how open you are to being approached, your energy level, your professionalism, and even the way you were brought up. Didn’t your mother ever tell you stand up straight?

Make sure you do stand up straight, but not as if you’re in the military. You want to appear open and friendly, not rigid and formal. If you slouch, you may look tired or unenthusiastic. Find a happy medium where you stand up straight with your shoulders back, far enough away from the other person to allow personal space, and with a sense of energy.

  1. Arm movement

Gestures and where you put your hands when you’re not using them are both elements of body language that communicate different things. Waving your arms around while you talk may seem to portray excitement, but it can also be distracting. Putting your hands in your back pockets may be more casual and comfortable, but it can also look unprofessional. Crossing your arms is also a big no-no in many circles since it communicates a resistance to new ideas.

You may be completely unaware of your common gestures, so ask a friend to pay attention to them during a practice conversation.

  1. Facial expressions

People will be looking at your face more than anywhere else, so be careful of your facial expressions. If you frown at what someone is saying, they will immediately assume you disagree or disapprove. Worse, someone may capture that on camera or see it from across the room.

Keeping a slight smile on your face is a good habit to practice no matter what situation you’re in. It makes you look warm and friendly – like someone that others would like to meet.

  1. Eye contact

If there is no other body language you focus on, it should be eye contact. The best networkers use their eyes to communicate the feeling that you are the person they are most interested in at that moment. And never let your eyes drift to other people in the room, as if you’re looking for someone better to talk to.

Practice having a conversation with a friend, preferably in a room full of people, and ask them for feedback afterwards on what your eye contact felt like. Did they feel as if you were not fully engaged? Did they feel like you were “staring them down”?

Now go stand in front of a mirror and practice having a conversation with an imaginary person. Answer and ask questions you might normally talk about in a networking event. As you talk, pay attention to your body language and what you need to work on.

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