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Use body language to network effectively

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Your body language says a lot, even when you don’t realize it. The way you sit, stand and walk communicate things to people—such as that you’re not engaged in a conversation you’re having—so when you’re networking it’s especially important to take notice of your body language, Dave Delaney writes at The Tennessean. Here are some tips for using good body language at networking events.

Take note of your resting face. While you don’t want to smile pointlessly all day, you should maintain a relaxed, pleasant facial expression so you seem approachable.

Keep your arms open. Crossed arms make you seem closed off. If you want people to introduce themselves, don’t cross your arms.

Mind your toes. When speaking with someone, keep your toes pointed toward them. If your feet are pointed elsewhere it can seem like you’re trying to get away.

Practice your handshake. You’ve probably heard that a firm handshake is best. A weak handshake makes you seem timid or lacking in confidence, while a handshake that’s too hard will make you seem aggressive. Search for the middle ground.

Remember that smiles are contagious. Smile when speaking to someone, even if it’s on the phone. In person you’ll look more approachable, and over the phone you can hear a smile in someone’s voice.

Use good eye contact. Look people in the eyes when you’re speaking to them, but don’t stare them down. Constant eye contact can be unnerving, so switch it up, but avoid looking around the room or over their shoulders.

— Adapted from “Must-know body language tips,” Dave Delaney, The Tennessean.

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