How you hold your physical body communicates a tremendous amount of information about you. Be aware of presence power. Studies suggest that a person will unconsciously interpret approximately 55% of the meaning of your message from physiological cues from your attire, body position, stance, and facial expressions.
Body language, demeanor, and dress are important elements in making a lasting impression. First impressions are often lasting impressions. So take pride in your appearance. Be fun and sociable. You are the number-one element in your success strategy.
How you look and present yourself matters. You want to look smart and with-it. You should not look untidy. No messed up hair, wrinkled shirts, or loose ties. In fact, the ideal wardrobe for a networking event is slightly better dressed than the other attendees.
Check yourself before you go out. Do a 360 in front of a full-length mirror. Would you want to talk to you? Would you want to be seen talking to you?
Ask someone’s opinion. Take the advice of others about your appearance. I ask my wife. She has saved me from more than a few bad shirt/tie combos.
However, do not rely on your “together” look to cover up for sad puppy behavior or poor conversational ability. Stand, speak, and act as if you were self-confident, attractive, vital. If you have flair, use it. Make sure you will be remembered in a positive way. Be enthusiastic. An enthusiastic attitude distinguishes the really cracking networkers from the so-so networkers.
Speak with a positive countenance, exhibit confidence, and display a natural enthusiasm about your life and your work. Be a walking-talking representation of life, in all its excitement and possibility. How you say something means as much or more than what you say. You are your best public relations representative. You are the person who knows best what you do and what you have to offer others.
Sit or stand up straight. Gesture with power and confidence. Be fully engaged. Nod in agreement. Smile. Do not fold your arms or let your eyes wander off into the distance; look like you are having a good time. People trust people who look them in the eye. Do not shift focus. The more you change your focus, the more new information your brain is taking in. If you change focus frequently, you can overload your brain to the point where you are “at sea” and unable to focus on the issue at hand.
Be careful about shifting your weight while chatting with someone. It communicates a lack of interest and confidence, and it can result in your contact feeling a lack of TRUST.
Contributed by: Dean Lindsay, Award Winning Speaker and Author of The Progress Challenge & Co-Author of Stepping Stones to Success