Have you ever been to an event and found it hard to strike up a conversation? I use these 5 simple body language cues to help me identify who is open to getting to know me and how I make it easier for others to get to connect with me. Next time you’re at a Networking event (or during open networking at a BNI meeting) try these out. You never know who you’ll meet.
- Look for open groups.
‘Open groups’ are the groups of people who want to welcome newcomers to their circle. They can be identified by having physical space open for another person to join them. Think an open u-shape versus a closed triangle.
Having your shoulders slightly tilted out of the space – this really indicates you are open to newcomers. I always head to these groups of people and usually, they are keen to welcome you.
- Find the “solo” person
Have you ever noticed that solo person who playing with their phone? They are usually as petrified as you about being in this situation and have defaulted to engaging with their phone because they’ll feel less left out.
I love walking up to these people and simply saying, “Hi, my name is Braith. Are you a newbie here?”. Most of the time they are so grateful that someone engaged with them, that they are fantastic people to talk to.
Ine if the keys to Networking success, no matter where you are, is to ‘act like a host’ even when you’re not. This act of making it comfortable for a loner to feel included is a great way of doing this.
Back it up by introducing them to someone else if you can and always stand in an open fashion to welcome others.
- Eye Contact
As I walk into a room, I always look for those who connect with me using eye contact. Followed with a quick smile, this is a clear indicator they are someone who is interested in engaging with you.
You can do the same for people who walk into the room solo. They’ll appreciate the effort you made to engage – even if they don’t necessarily come and talk to you.
Smiling is so underrated. Recently I began an experiment to smile as much as possible. What I have noticed is people engage with me in a different way. The added benefit of smiling is you actually feel better, for no reason at all. There is a whole pile of science behind this, but that’s a conversation for another blog.
The bottom line is when you smile, people will be more inclined to want to approach you
- Watch your Arms
We all know crossed-arms is the universal sign of negativity or defensiveness. So drop the arms, even when it feels comfortable.
The second no-go for your arms is to put your hands on your hips. Subtlety this communicates aggression.
People make up their minds about others very quickly, so try these easy suggestions to make sure your first impression is great!
Want to try out these skills? Why not visit a BNI chapter. Email us for an invitation.