One 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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
A great opportunity for business owners, those aspiring and career people to meet and have maximum contacts in minimum time. All welcome.
The Glades, High Street, Bromley, BR1 1DN
plenty of parking on-site and around
Please join me for a glass of bubbly and some nibbles to showcase my new hair loss clinic in Charlton, SE78UD. RSVP email@example.com
Business Networking With Like-Minded Women Entrepreneurs looking to succeed.
Our East Dulwich Business Women's Networking Lunch meets on the 1st Wednesday of each month.
Situated in the heart of leafy East Dulwich, Fifty Seven is a unique event space .. You’ll be delighted to know that this is business too!
57 Northcross Road, East Dulwich, London, SE22 9ET
Suzanne James Ltd is London’s premier environmentally aware catering and events company. Over the past 20 years Suzanne has gone from a private chef, working alone from home, to an employer, and owner of an established business, with an amazing reputation.
With a team of professional event planners, chefs and front of house staff working alongside her, you will now find them on the list at many of the unique venues of London. In 2017 Suzanne opened fifty seven, her own private hire events space and cookery school in East Dulwich.
Can't make this month's lunch? Book in for the next one here!
Business Networking With Like-Minded Women Entrepreneurs - Just Like You!
Our Orpington Business Women's Networking Lunch meets on the 1st Thursday of each month.
Scala brings a unique and distinctive vibe to Orpington, with its striking interior, stunning design features and beautiful menus that take you on a journey through the sun soaked Mediterranean.. You’ll be delighted to know that this is business too!
132 High Street, Orpington, BR6 0JS
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 Thursday of each month
Helen is a social media consultant, helping businesses increase and maximize their exposure on the numerous social media platforms. She can set you up from scratch or advise you on your current social channels.
Can't make this month's lunch? Book in for the next one here!
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.
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.
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:
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
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
If you say yes to any of those questions, this is the perfect workshop for you.
Definition of collaboration = the action of working with someone to produce something (Oxford Dictionaries)
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.
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, stronger, successful.
Got you thinking, right?
Can you think of synergies and reasons to collaborate, now?
Thought you would!
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.
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
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).
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!
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!
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!
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.
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.