Up Your Networking Game With These Tips for Commanding a Room

 

What happened the last time you walked into a networking event? Did you hunker down by the coffee in the back of the room? Or did you command the space, forming new relationships and maximizing your time at the event? If the former is the typical case for you at these events, here are a few tips to help you take charge as you enter your next event.

Be On Time

The optics of showing up late are rarely, if ever, good. Being late doesn’t make you look important. It makes you look disorganized.

Oftentimes, when you’re late for a networking engagement, you’re forced to sneak into the back. No one knows you’re there, which means when it comes time to start conversing with other people, you’re already a step behind others in the room.

Likewise, when you rush to get to an event, you may arrive looking and feeling rushed. This appearance makes you look disheveled, distracted, and distant — none of which empower you to command the conversations you’re about to have.

Practice Your Intro

One of the first questions a person will ask you is, “what do you do?” Although this question should be easy to answer, it rarely is, especially for small businesses. You may either go into over-explanation mode, answering with more information than is needed, or you may get overly vague, leaving more question marks than answers in the person’s head. Neither is a strong approach to forming strong, long-lasting relationships.

Instead, think about the question a little bit differently — how do you help others? By answering this question instead of what do you do, you can immediately show the value you bring to the conversation, strengthening your position at the networking event.

Be Mindful of Your Body Language

The way you stand, walk, and sit speak volumes about your confidence levels. If you’re standing tall with your shoulders back, people will take notice and make an effort to talk to you. You’ll look like you have something compelling to share. On the flipside, if you walk in hunched over, not making eye contact, and with your arms crossed, you won’t look approachable. The lack of a welcoming stance will turn others away before they ever introduce themselves.

As you sit down, square yourself up. If you twist away from someone in front of you, you’ll look distracted and like you’re on the hunt for someone else to talk to. That non-verbal messaging will turn a person off and could lead to an abrupt ending to the conversation.

Plan For Your Next Networking Event

The better you keep in mind how you present yourself both verbally and nonverbally, the bigger the chance you will command the space you’re in and form stronger relationships with those around you. Be aware of how you come across so you can see a bigger return from your time investment.