When meeting new faces at a business conference, the first impression occurs even before you step into the room or utter a single word.
How would you react to someone who is late, shabbily dressed, comes rushing in, fidgets with his phone while opening a card reader app (iOS, Android) and pounces on to the first opportunity to exchange business cards with anyone and everyone that comes across? That’s not a good way to begin at all!
So, here are a few non-verbal cues that will increase your chances of success and allow you to stay ahead of the game.
1. Show Up Early: Being late is viewed as impolite and implies incompetence and lack of integrity. It manifests as unrest and anxiety readily apparent to others. So, arrive timely, if not early, to show your eagerness and increase your chances of interacting and establishing a rapport with organizers and other early arrivers. Also, make sure to wear the right outfit.
2. Wear the Right Outfit: Before you decide the outfit, check if the conference you are going to attend has any dress code. Otherwise, colors like black, gray, navy blue and brown are common. One day conferences normally require more professional attire while conferences spread over a few days have slightly more relaxed dress codes. The key is to dress aptly and look polished and professional. And when you meet someone, follow the right handshake etiquettes.
3. Perfect the Handshake: Know when to initiate. Normally, the person in higher authority or age is the first to initiate. If you are sitting, be sure to stand up before you extend your hand. Offer a greeting before and during the handshake, and make sure that your handshake is firm and no longer than 2-4 seconds. Maintain friendly eye contact when handshaking or conversing with anyone at the event.
4. Maintain an Eye Contact: Eye contact conveys sincerity and trust and helps to develop a connection, a requirement when you are surrounded by many new faces. Avoiding eye contact is symbolic of evasiveness or dishonesty, but at the same time, too much eye contact can appear threatening. So, maintain a reasonable amount of eye contact, and look away sometimes to offer a healthy space, and don’t forget the law of proxemics.
5. Follow the Law of Proxemics: Understand the social space and maintain a reasonable distance with fellow attendees. Normally, 4-12 feet of distance is ok, but it depends on the situation. Observe carefully to understand the distance you should maintain not to disrupt other’s personal space. Moreover, try to maintain a smile on your face.
6. Keep Smiling and Reflect Friendly Gestures: Your facial expressions unintentionally welcome or divert people. Take care not to frown, or look frustrated; rather wear a genuine smile on your face and evoke positivity. This attracts people. Also, remember that your physical gestures should be in sync with your facial expressions.
7. Keep your Limbs Open and Remain Composed: Keep your movements calm and use open arms gestures. Stand tall, keeping your posture erect and maintain your vocal pitch at an optimal level with proper vocal inflection, pauses and eye contact to display receptivity, and to evoke credibility and honesty; and focus more on listening.
8. Listen Carefully: Listening is an art, and if you are composed and receptive, you can grab details that people normally miss. Timely nods, fillers, and right facial expressions can help you tune in with people you are conversing. Finally, go well prepared to exude natural confidence.
9. Go Well-prepared to Radiate Natural Confidence: Download a card reader or a card scanner app on your mobile device beforehand to help you scan and export important business cards to CRM without delay. ScanBizCards is a good business card manager saving you from the anxiety of continually noting down the important contacts somewhere, or from amateurishly stuffing cards in your pockets. Keeping things in control makes you come across as proficient, confident and graceful.
Overall, body language plays a crucial role in sending signals to those around you to believe or disbelieve whatever you express through your words. So, follow these tips to exude sincerity, integrity, and confidence and to make the most of your event. Do you have any other tips? Leave your thoughts in the comments below. Happy Networking!!