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Networking & Body Language Basics. Part two of a two-part series on learning how to connect to people with your message.

Big Ideas Summary

Watch in the introductory video our of friend, Justin Hanna, an expert in youth marketing and social engagement for young entrepreneurs, give in-depth expert advice on how to overcome the challenges involved in engaging with your target audience.

Now that you know who your target audience could be, and developed a “air-tight” pitch (see Get Out There! Part 1: Discovering Your Target Audience and Making the Right Pitch), it’s time to get out there and start networking! The next thing you know you’re in a room with hundreds of strangers, compelled by the chance to meet people who can support your idea and guide you in the right direction. Inside, you know that this is one of the best opportunities will have to introduce your idea to the right people and make a name for yourself. You start to feel the pressure of talking to strangers set in, but feel increasingly overwhelmed. Where do I start? Who do I talk to first? Who should I talk to first? What do I say? How do I avoid appearing nervous? How will I know if they are interested? If you identify with any of the above networking scenarios, then this article is for you!

Source: Buffer Social

This month we are pleased to present our featured topic on networking and body language basics. Here we explore some effective tips and strategies for successful face-to-face networking, and provide insights on body language to help you improve your communication skills.

"I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel." - Maya Angelou

Networking Basics

Generally, as you are starting to get to know others, you rely on communication (chatting, speaking, writing, emailing) as a means to really come to understand what they’re all about. Many forms of communication reveal a great deal about a person’s self-concept. With professional interactions becoming increasingly digital however, we have an even narrower window through which to observe each other, since very often our entire experience of others comes through in very brief face-to-face interactions. Despite the fact that these interactions are short, mostly spontaneous, and occasionally casual in nature, the importance of being strategic and thoughtful cannot be overstated. To most of us, it never really crosses our minds just how complicated a simple activity such as communication is, but a large part of how others perceive your project is determined by your ability to communicate what we know and think. Despite the current rise of online social networking, face-to face contact is still considered to be the best and most effective means of networking today.

Body Language Basics

Great networking skills not only reside in verbal communication but also in nonverbal communication, also known as body language. In a nutshell, body language can be referred to as: “various forms of nonverbal communication, wherein a person may reveal clues as to some unspoken intention or feeling through their physical behavior. These behaviors can include body posture, gestures, facial expressions, and eye movements. Body language can also vary depending on the culture” (Wikipedia, 2014). Although not an exact science, body language is still considered to be a valuable skill and tool to develop and use when meeting potential stakeholders and gaining their confidence and trust in you and your idea. Check out this great infographic by INC to learn more about the basics of body language.

Relevant Articles on Networking & Body Language

Need help getting into the mindset? Check out this article penned by Richard Branson - Author and Founder of Virgin Group (and noted eccentric billionaire) - as he shares some advice on what he did to be successful at networking his idea.

New to networking? Don’t worry. Check out this helpful advice from Entrepreneur for young entrepreneurs who are just starting to build their network.

Personalizing your networking strategy is a great way to stand out from everyone else. As Forbes suggests, using "your story" to drive your message is a powerful tactic when networking.

Looking for a large resource of networking tips and advice? Passive Panda - a freelancing, employment, and entrepreneurship website - offers a great article that outlines in detail twenty-four great networking tips.

MindTools provides this in-depth article on how to understand non-verbal communication, and offers some tips and advice on how to improve your own body language skills.

In this article by Entrepreneur, Ivan Misner, the Founder and CEO of BNI, shares four essential body language tips to remember for impactful networking.

When communicating with others it is beneficial to master not only your own body language, but also the skill of reading others’ body language. The Business Insider has compiled a set of fourteen tactics that can help you gauge what the other person is thinking.

To add to the notion that body language is not a definitive science, Forbes has developed an article debunking common myths of body language today.

Books On Networking & Body Language

Carnegie, Dale. (1998). How to Win Friends and Influence People. Pocket Books Publishing.

Charney & Singh. (2010). Hitting Stryde: A Gen ‘Y’ Career Survival Guide. Chapter 4. Stryde Publishing.

Ferrazzi, Keith. (2005). Never Eat Alone: And Other Secrets to Success, One Relationship at a Time. First Edition. Crown Business Publishing.

Reyman, Tonya. (2008) The Power of Body Language: How to Succeed In Every Business and Social Encounter. Gallery Books Publishing.

Pease, Barbara. (2006). The Definitive Book on Body Language. First Edition. Bantam Publishing.

Websites to Check Out

The popular networking website LinkedIn, is a business-oriented social networking service with over 20 million members.

Volley, is a website that acts as an interactive networking tool that allows you to meet your target audience with ease.

Startup Today, is a “one-stop-shop” website where you can upload your project idea, network, recruit, and more, all in one place.

Psychology Today is a great resource for articles on body language, and other psychology and sociology articles as well.

Check out this article on Novoresume to learn more about networking tips and surprising networking statistics

This article from Wikijob, by Bianca Praino details the importance of interpersonal skills and communication in professional contexts.

Twitter Accounts to Follow

Networking Skills @NetworkingGuide

Julie Hall @JulieHallOnline

Janine Driver @janinedriver

Mark Bowden @truthplane

Videos to Watch

Julie Hall - Founder of Women Unlimited - reveals the do’s and don'ts of effective networking for startups. News Channel 8 features this informative video featuring Action Coach Jim Malski of the Next Level Firm as he shares some excellent tips on how to effectively network.

Amy Cuddy - renowned social psychologist - describes just how powerful body language can be in changing perceptions for our audiences, and also in changing how we view ourselves in this TED talk video.

This TEDx talk featuring Mark Bowden - body language, behaviour and business communication expert - explains the importance of being “inauthentic”- making the conscious decision to overcome your first impressions of people and take the chance for success.

Janine Driver - an International Communications Expert and Owner and President of The Body Language Institute - shares these 10 ways to use body language to help you get what you want.

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