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Business Networking: How To Master Your Body Language

Business Networking: How To Master Your Body Language

Business Networking: How To Master Your Body LanguageOne of the benefits of networking with people face-to-face vs. online is that you can gauge their reactions and get a “read” on them. At the same time, they can do the same with you. You only have the one chance to make that all-important first impression; it’s already made before you even lean in and introduce yourself. If you’re an introvert, feel shy, or don’t like groups of people, business networking can seem like your own personal hell.

This article will share with you the 4 areas of body language and how to master them for effective networking, even if you’re petrified inside!

Here are four of the most important components of body language that you need to pay attention to when you’re networking for business:

Eye Contact in Business Networking

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.  Never let your eyes drift to other people in the room, as if you’re looking for someone better to talk to, or be constantly looking over someone’s shoulder to see if there’s someone you’d rather talk to instead.

Even if you are nervous, look at the person you are talking to. Not in a serial killer, or teenage infatuation can’t take your eyes off of them way but in a normal, I’m interested in what you say kind of way.

Practice having a conversation with a friend, preferably in a room full of people, and ask them for feedback afterward 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?” Feedback on eye contact is important, you don’t want to send the wrong message yet you don’t want to appear disinterested.

Your posture when business networking

Did your mother ever tell you to stand up straight? 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.

Make sure you do stand up straight, but not as if you’re on parade. You want to appear open and friendly, not rigid and formal. If you slouch, you may look tired or unenthusiastic. If you’re tired, take a seat, and if your heels are killing you, slip them off under the table.

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 and purpose.

Arm movements when networking

Waving not drowning? How do you know? 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 for the other person who won’t know where to look.

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.

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.

Mona Lisa had it right. 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 –  and if you are caught on film from across the room, the photo can’t be misinterpreted.

How to improve your body language for business networking

  • 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.

Now you’ve mastered your body language, book onto the next 1230  TWC meeting and see how effective it is.

PS If you find networking difficult, you will love the 1230 TWC meetings. These take place over lunch, are pressure free and filled with smart women like you

Getting Started in the Gig Economy

American society is adapting to a new concept of work: the gig economy. The term refers to a workforce where freelancers contract with businesses on a short-term or as-needed basis. Right now, about 11% of working adults in the U.S. are full-time independent contractors. And while “part-time gig” may sound like a euphemism for being broke, nearly 20% of independent contractors earn over $100,000. By other estimates, 53 million Americans are employed as freelancers.

Gig work injects $715 billion into the economy each year. Since 2000, traditional W-2s have stagnated, while the use of 1099s has shot up 22%. Here are some tips to get going in the gig economy and to kick-start your own successful gig business.

Gig-a-what?

Some economic forecasts predict that by 2020, 40% of American workers will be full-time independent contractors. A number of factors have contributed to this trend. First, digitalization eliminated many traditional jobs, which made the workplace remote, shrinking it down to your laptop. Then, during the 2007 recession, people switched careers, contracting with businesses on a short-term basis. In turn, this was a boon to companies that could boost their bottom line without shelling out benefits to permanent staffers. Currently, common freelance occupations include writers, architects, engineers, web developers, analytics specialists, lawyers or paralegals, among others.

Upsides, Downsides

The freedoms that the gig economy offers are numerous. These include the independence to move from city to city, choose their schedules, set their rate and hours and pick your own clients and partners. The downside is that the gig economy is quite selective. Gig work is often great for people established in their careers who can cherry-pick high-paying jobs on the side. But it’s frustrating for people who have only found spotty or inconsistent work. And however exciting it can be to hustle between assignments, 91% of millennials say that they desire stable, long-term employment.

Starting Your Gig Business

Two types of businesses predominate in the gig economy: Companies employing independent contractors, or independent contractors themselves. Let’s say you’re a company. Your company should make it easy for freelancers to find and sign on with you, so that red tape and corporate rules don’t put them off. Also, it’s imperative that your business is mobile-friendly, because you might want to hire someone who’s in Spain while you’re based in San Francisco. Pay on time, and every time, so you don’t get a bad reputation. Finally, develop a collaborations page where freelancers can network and feel tight-knit in a digital workspace.

Employing Yourself in the Gig Economy

Another way to make ends meet in the gig economy is to run a business of one, employing only yourself. To make it as a problem-solving business owner, you need tenacity, adaptability and flexibility

Keep in mind, there are a lot of freelancers out there. They offer services that range from designing a web page to preparing legal documents to driving Uber. But, there are ways to succeed:

  • Put together a home office.
  • Design business cards and an invoicing template.
  • And never, ever work for free.

For many people, the disappearance of the 9-5 workplace, with its pay scale, corner office and promotion track is scary. However, the new work model empowers business-minded people to turn their passions into flourishing careers.

Image via Unsplash

Post from Lucy Reed of Gigmine

Southend on Sea Business Networking

Lunch-time networking for business women

Business Networking With Like-Minded Women Entrepreneurs - Just Like You! 

Built in 1901 as The Capital & Counties Bank Ltd, then in 1929 Lloyds Bank, remaining a bank until 1993 when it was transformed into a restaurant.
Pavarotti Restaurant still has the original bank vault and safe. So if visiting on a week-day and would like to view, a tour is possible.
Fabulous venue, for fabulous business!

27
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20
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Venue directions

Pavarotti Restaurant
65 Hamlet Court Road
Westcliff on Sea, Southend, SS0 7EY
plenty of parking nearby

At the 1230 TWC meetings you can expect great conversation, a speaker on an aspect of business, and great company.

1230 TWC Southend-on-Sea meets 4th Wednesday of each month
@ 12.30 pm

Can't make this month's event? Book in for the next one here!

Make Your Customer Feel Valued – 15 Feb 2018 6pm to 9pm

Make Your Customer Feel Valued

Interactive Workshop with Claire Boscq-Scott, Founder of The Busy Queen Bee, in collaboration with Rohini Rathour,  takes you on a step-by-step journey of how to make your business profitable through excellent customer service and happy engaged employees.

Limited places.  Book your places at HERE

Do you…

  • Run a business?
  • Want to have loyal customers?
  • Want to have engaged employees?
  • Want to increase your profit?

The answer…

If you say yes to any of those questions, this is the perfect workshop for you.

Collaboration for Networkers – Yes or No?


Definition of collaboration = the action of working with someone to produce something (Oxford Dictionaries)

Synergies

Do you always see the synergies, that is, the possibilities to collaborate when speaking to others when you are networking, or perhaps when you’re listening to others’ 1 minutes?  Maybe you don’t see the synergies straight away, but you do when you revisit your notes later…  Why would you want to collaborate with others?  Let’s take a look at some possibilities.  Or, help others to collaborate.

What about the Experts?

You are an expert in your own field, your own business.  But are you an expert in all subjects required for successful business, for something new and different?  Let’s consider your area of expertise is weight loss.  Amongst those around you at a networking meeting is an image consultant, a beautician, a venue Manager and a multi-disciplined practitioner in alternative therapies.  Getting the picture?  Let’s go further and consider that during the subsequent meeting you have together that you decide to “do something” together. 

GDPR
GDPR

Next steps in collaboration

To set up the project and manage the finances, needs the help and advice of an accountant and/or bookkeeper.  The project also needs marketing, using both traditional methods and social media.  And of course, you're likely to need Contracts (KoffeeKlatch will have just the thing for you) that keep you legal and abiding to GDPR regulations too, for working with these experts.  Guess what? You’ve met all these people!  They are part of your ever-expanding network. 

What knowledge and expertise do you have?

You may have some knowledge in these fields, but you are by no means an expert.  With others, through collaborative networking your business offering is now different, strongersuccessful.

Got you thinking, right?

Can you think of synergies and reasons to collaborate, now?  

Thought you would!

Disaster Dahling! Or How Our Networks Work!

Afternoon before the business conference, check list in hand, everything ticked and ready to go for the Conference set-up.

The phone rings, the voice of the venue owner (2 separate ownerships) throws a virtual bucket of ice-cold water over me.  “I’m really sorry Jackie, but we have no power – although our people are working on it, I think you need to look at an alternative venue for your business event.”

He had tried to pre-empt the situation by speaking with a venue just a few yards away and they had agreed to host our event – but, I’d never been in that venue, so needed to visit before making that decision; and just how bad was our original venue?  And had he spoken with the new owner of the other half of the venue?  No.  Working since 7.00 am that morning from my home office, I’d literally stepped out of the shower when taking his call.

So with dripping hair and no make-up – not a good look – I made my way to the potential new Conference venue.  Fortunately, a 10 mins drive away from me.

The booked venue was indeed a shambles of refurbishment - more like a bomb-site, more so on the floor-level where the business exhibition stands were scheduled along with the business clinics and advisers; the lower floor level was for the seminars and workshops.  So we waited for the owner of the other venue to arrive – as you’d imagine, a million things banging around my head, which finally settled into a plan.

The new venue was great, and we could use 2 floors, as planned.  OK, back to the office with 90 mins to spare before people start to arrive to set up, to let everyone know of the venue change.  And breath! 

Phone calls to The Mayor’s office and others, emails to EVERYONE!  Some would receive 2 emails with change of venue details, but that didn’t matter – better 2 than none at all.

Back at the new venue with car ready to be unloaded, to be told that we can only use one floor – that means speakers and exhibition stands on one level, but, separated by a huge circular bar – we can still make this work!

In between times, I’d spoken with the representative of the 2nd owner of our original venue – with me so far?  who was totally unaware of the situation up to that point. 100 chairs were on their way, plus tables, but, we didn’t need 100 chairs at the new venue, just half, since they had their own chairs……

When the furniture delivery arrives, there are too many chairs and insufficient tables – off to get more tables!

Time moves on – people arrive for setting up stands – then, sleep… 7.30 am start to finish last minute set-up of the event which opens at 9.00 am.

The Day

Exhibitors start to arrive, and despite notices from the “old” venue and emails, some state that they’ve not seen either.  Trouble is, it’s not possible to take responsibility for another’s computer system.  Others are happy and accommodating of the whole situation and continue to have a successful day. 

“Huge congratulations for pulling potential disaster out of the fire this week! The BBA day was a triumph. I met some lovely people and hope we may be able to help each other sometime in the future.”  Susan Feehan

Why am I Sharing this with You?

I'm an experienced events organiser, with a wide network of contacts, grown through my own business – 1230 The Women’s Company as well as managing other events regularly such as my local business association (event above). 

Stuff Happens!

And as we look around at the current disasters in the World, my above experience is small fry.  I had planned and pulled this together in 12 months. Last minute stuff happens, unexpected stuff, like venues going into liquidation – had 2 of those with my monthly lunch-time networking meetings of 1230 TWC.  Venues catching fire, all manner of things that potentially could have brought a halt to the event. 

The event above was local to me in Beckenham, but not all my chosen venues are, so unless someone lets me know (as you’d expect,  it wasn’t the owners of the liquidated or fired premises, who did) how am I to know and make alternative plans?  In the case of one restaurant liquidation, a passing chap who’d booked a table for the following day, spotted the notification of liquidation in the restaurant window.  He went back to his computer and tried to find anyone who may have had a booking with the venue.  Thankfully he found us and let us know – how considerate is that!

Having a Plan

The invaluable check list!  And I’ve been nagged to write a book on how to organise an event -something I’ve done with my own businesses since 2002 and earlier when I was a fund-raising manager.  So watch this space!

Yes, you need a check list!

Networks

networking

At the root of all event organisation is – your network.  You need a venue, so look to your network for personal recommendations.  You need speakers, so you look to those that you know, either as speakers, or for their connections and recommendations.  The speakers will “spread the word” of the event to their networks.  Dependent upon the type of event, you may need exhibitors.  Again, you look to your network to invite them to exhibit and they will let their networks know.  And when possible, you need a team, as I had around me for the described Conference – substitute “team”, with network.

You need a builder, copywriter, a web designer, solicitor.. you name it, whatever your needs, your network will fulfil this.  If you are a business woman, then obviously you look to your network within 1230.co.uk

Following the Conference above, I asked on Facebook what readers would have done in such a situation.  Many said “call you!”, another suggested steps for me to take, the last being to call her, as did others.  

All that is about connections created through networking.

Networks are the most important things in our lives. Whether we need to share our excitement, our tears, need help, want to offer help, it’s all about people we know.  Don’t forget, our own families are networks, and, surprising to some, they know people too!

The Importance of Networks

So this blog isn’t about sharing the potential disaster of a last minute change of venue, but most importantly, the strength of a supportive network.  If you’ve not been before, come and try us out  1230.co.uk and for September, grab September Sizzle while you can.

Hidden Disabilities (dyslexia, dyspraxia, autism and ADHD) – a Practical Seminar – 21 September 2017

Jenna Ide and Meredith Hurst will be speaking along with a barrister, Peter Oldham QC. Cost is just £25 plus VAT.

The seminar is aimed at senior HR managers and directors.

My colleague, Jenna Ide represented the dyslexic employee, Ms Kumulchew, in her successful case against Starbucks, which you may have seen in the BBC news last year (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-35521061).

The details for this seminar can be found at the following link: http://www.thomasmansfield.com/blog/posts/hidden-disabilities-a-practical-seminar-on-21-september-2017

Please feel free to read Jenna Ide’s article on “Hidden Disabilities” which was recently published in the Employment Solicitor Magazine (http://www.employmentsolicitor.com/hidden-disabilities-employers-need-know/), which may help to give you a flavour of why it is important for employers to take special care when it comes to dealing with employees with “hidden disabilities”.

If you would like to book any places at the seminar, please feel free to drop me, Susi Gillespie an email or let me know if you have any questions.

business lunch, healthy, Hillingdon, businesswomen, women, professional

Uxbridge Business Networking Lunch

Business Networking Lunches in Uxbridge

Business Networking for Female Entrepreneurs & Executives - Just Like You!

The  1230 TWC Uxbridge Business Women's Networking Lunch meets at the Zizzi Uxbridge - awash with personality, colour...and historical influence.
This luxury restaurant ensures our networking lunch is a special treat - so good, you'll find it hard to believe it's business as well!!!

34
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Venue directions

Zizzi's
223 High St, Uxbridge UB8 1LD

At the 1230 TWC Business Women's Networking Lunch you can expect great conversation, a speaker on an aspect of business, and a great lunch.

Meeting on the 3rd Friday of each month

Your Host

Meet your hostess Minal Patel

Minal started Marketing by Minal in March 2016 to help small and medium sized businesses (SMEs) give their marketing more focus. With over 15 years’ experience in marketing, Minal has worked for numerous UK-based and international companies in senior marketing roles. Her last position gave her the opportunity to get to know 100s of SMEs across the UK and a real passion for helping them achieve great results from marketing was born. In the first year of business, Marketing by Minal was selected as one of the Small Business 100 for the Small Business Saturday campaign and Minal was named in the list of 100 women marketers to follow on Twitter. Based in Hillingdon, Minal loves sharing her marketing knowledge in a practical and easy-to-implement way.

... and I can't wait to see you at 1230 TWC Hillingdon!

Can't make this month's lunch? Book in for the next one here!

Divorce – the case for co-operation and the role of collaborative law

A series of cases over the last few years has highlighted the need for co-operation in divorce proceedings before the courts. Failure to co-operate, particularly in the disclosure of financial information, can ultimately lead to a prison sentence: and as cases such as Parkinson v Daley [http://www.tmfamilylaw.co.uk/2017/04/co-operation-and-contempt-in-divorce/] have demonstrated, this is no idle threat.

The case for co-operation

With the real threat of a prison sentence underpinning the requirement to provide complete disclosure of financial assets, the case for co-operation is clear. While I would not wish to downplay the distress that divorce brings, there are several, obvious advantages to a ‘cards on the table’ approach, even without the threat of imprisonment. Reaching resolution to the divorce proceedings draws a line under the relationship and allows both parties to move on. Doing so quickly and as cooperatively as possible can have real long term benefits to all involved, especially when there are children to consider. Co-operation also reduces the need for additional court hearings and the escalation of legal costs which is in no one’s interest.

Collaborative law puts co-operation at the heart of the divorce

Divorcing couples may not feel like co-operating, particularly in the early stages, when the divorce may be most raw and painful. However, increasing numbers of couples are recognising the benefits in the longer term of putting differences to one side in the interests of achieving a swifter and more flexible settlement. Collaborative law puts co-operation at the heart of the divorce process, and allows couples to work through issues such as financial arrangements and childcare details leading to a more intuitive and realistic setting. While courts are bound by rules as to the content of the orders they can make in divorce proceedings, a key benefit of collaborative law is the opportunity for each couple to draw up a settlement that is uniquely tailored to their circumstances.

Dispute resolution over court proceedings

Even if collaborative law, which involves the parties and their lawyers discussing the issues face to face, feels like a step too far, other forms of dispute resolution such as mediation are available. As with collaborative law, these other forms of dispute resolution achieve the divorce in a less stressful, and more timely, cost-effective way. Given that the courts will ultimately require co-operation and disclosure of assets and liabilities during a divorce, it makes sense for couples to ‘put their cards on the table’ at an early stage. Collaborative law offers a great opportunity to do this.

I’ve explored the sanctions for non-cooperation with the court process, particularly in the context of financial arrangements, in more detail in my latest blog [http://www.tmfamilylaw.co.uk/2017/04/co-operation-and-contempt-in-divorce].

If you’d like to discuss how dispute resolution in general and collaborative law in particular works in the context of divorce, do get in touch!

Sevenoaks Business Networking Lunch

Business Networking With Like-Minded Women Entrepreneurs - Just Like You!

Bookings by Friday 1 December

Our Sevenoaks Business Women's Networking Lunch meets at Otto's Coffee House & Kitchen
located in a charming 16th century Grade II listed building.
This ensures our networking lunch is a special treat - so good, you won't believe it's business as well!!!

24
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22
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58
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Venue directions

Otto's
37 High Street,
Sevenoaks, TN13 1JD

At the 1230 TWC Business Women's Networking Lunch you can expect great conversation, a speaker on an aspect of business, and a great lunch.

Meeting on the 1st Monday of each month

Your Host

Susi Gillespie Family Law

Meet your Host
Susi Gillespie

Susi Gillespie is a results driven family lawyer with more than 10 years’ experience. Susi worked in a Legal 500 regional firm from qualification until 2016 and has now joined Thomas Mansfield upon them opening their doors to Family Law clients. Susi is a trained Collaborative Lawyer which means that she is able to offer her clients an alternative method of dispute resolution from the traditional adversarial approach. Collaborative Law provides a means of achieving family led solutions in a non- confrontational way by agreement and discussion in several client/lawyer meetings. . Susi is also a keen advocate and has Higher Rights of Audience for those cases that (now exceptionally) cannot be kept away from the court arena.

In 2010 – 2015 Chambers and Partners UK recognised Susi as a ‘Notable Practitioner’ and latterly as an ‘Associate to Watch’ praising her for her ‘enthusiasm and straightforward attitude’.

As well as being a member of Resolution, Susi also sits on the regional Resolution Committee and on the central Committee for Cohabitation and Equalities.

Can't make this month's lunch? Book in for the next one here!

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