The more you know the more you can be. Be a good communicator.
All of us are committed to recruiting new members for our group by attending more networking events, calling favours in from contacts, and doing the ol’ cold call.
Something to keep in mind as we do all this and interact with strangers is the cues we send in our posture, arms movements, facial expression, and eye contact.
Did you know nonverbal communication makes up 2/3 of all communication? The signals you are sending (even unknowingly) can either confirm or negate whatever you may be saying verbally. Effective communication means what you are saying is matched by what you are showing.
E.g. Extreme example crossed arms — ‘what a pleasure to meet you’
or ‘oh that’s very interesting’
or another example is me talking in public ― I tend to fiddle with my hands or make excessive arm gestures, which gives away my nervousness.
Studies have shown that you have 4-10 seconds to make a good impression on those you come in contact with. The quickest way to do this is by smiling, making eye contact, and keeping an open posture. This will confirm the interest you have in them.
It may be corny, but stand in front of the mirror and smile. If your eyes aren’t twinkling or softer, you aren’t really smiling. Think of something funny or someone you love and then try again. I guarantee there’s a difference. Do that every time you meet someone and I will also guarantee you will make a good impression.
Speaking from experience, not all of us are born networkers, it is as much of a skill to be learned as cooking or learning to play an instrument.
So what are some things you can do at the event or just before meeting someone?
- Take a quick scan of your body (where is there tension?)
- Uncross the arms
- Straighten your back
- Relax your face
- Feel your feet on the ground
When you feel grounded and relaxed, your communication becomes much more natural and spontaneous.
At an event:
- If talking in a group, keep an open structure so anyone can join in. A closed circle gives off the impression newcomers aren’t welcome. It’s hard enough to approach a group of strangers, let’s not make it any harder.
- When someone is talking, do not start scanning the room with your eyes! Stay focussed on the conversation so you are able to respond appropriately to what they say.
- Match their non-verbal cues. It’s great to make eye contact but don’t keep staring at them the whole conversation. If they lean in to tell you something, you lean in too. A naturally flowing conversation will have both participants matching each other’s non-verbal communication effortlessly.
- If you see someone by themselves, go up to them and start the conversation. Chances are they are nervous and will welcome someone making the first move.
These are just some things to think about in the next couple weeks as we attend all these networking events. How do we present ourselves and how can we match our verbal communication with non-verbal?
Because the more you know the more you can be. Be a…good communicator.