Have you ever walked into a networking event, took one look around, and prepared to dash back to your car? Everyone experiences nerves when it comes to meeting new people. In networking events especially, the bar is set high, so we often find ourselves asking, “Will they like me? What if I embarrass myself? Is this going to change my entire career?” These types of events are sure to make the palms sweat. It’s important to be confident and prepare yourself so that you can walk in and leave the butterflies at the door. Here are tips for building networking connections by using charm to leave a positive impression.
1. Change Your Body Language
The first thing that people observe about you is your body language. If you walk into the room with your eyes on the floor, shoulders hunched, and hands wringing, it indicates that you are nervous and timid. Try walking in with your shoulders back, chin up, and eyes moving around the room to assess the atmosphere. This body language emotes confidence and will draw attention.
2. Use the Mirroring Technique
Have you ever heard of mirroring? If you work in sales, you probably have! The mirroring technique is a marketing technique that is often used in sales. This technique builds connections between individuals and creates a sense of empathy. As you engage with a potential networking connection in conversation, mirror their behavior. Observe their body language and tone of voice. If they lean back in their chair, do the same. Notice a hint of humor in their tone? Use the same tonality. If you notice that they like to talk about money, bring money up in the conversation. Doing these simple things will create a sense of ease and familiarity in the person you are speaking with.
3. Maintain Steady Eye Contact
While this tip seems obvious, when done well, it is effective. No one likes talking to someone who is constantly looking around the room or distracted by their phone. While you converse, maintain steady eye contact. Don’t stare into their soul, but use enough eye contact to indicat that they alone have your attention. Put your phone away. Building relationships is far more important than checking instagram. This intentionality communicates to the other person that you are focused on them and taking them seriously. This will help the other person feel seen and appreciated, leaving a positive impact on their appraisal of you.
With these tips for building networking connections, you will be sure to charm your audience at any event. Above all, be your natural self. It is easy to see when others are faking it. Let your personality shine and you will be sure to build an even greater network.
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