How Practising Positive Body Language Can Give You Conference Success
We all know people who walk into a meeting, event, or conference and, without saying a word, sharpen the mood, hold the attention of those around them and make people feel inclined to listen to what they are saying.
Over the years of hosting many conferences and events here at 99 City Road we’ve come to realise that more often than not this has little to do with their business acumen, the quality of their CV or their position within a company. It can be about something far more subtle, harder to describe, but, thankfully, possible for the rest of us mere mortals to practise and master.
Being a good communicator, having magnetism, being credible and engaging – these are invaluable skills in business and the most successful speakers and delegates at networking events have these attributes.
Events, conferences and business meetings of all kinds are about influencing people – whether we are trying to encourage people to change their behaviour, buy into an idea or a company ethos, or simply to buy our product.
Body language can be one of the most powerful tools we have to help us make an impression on others, and using body language well is a skill that can be learned.
Within seven seconds of meeting someone new you will have made judgements and assumptions about this person based upon what you see.
This may seem unfair, but it is in the nature of being human and it is something you can use in a positive way.
Here are some things to keep in mind when you are at an event, a conference, or a networking day:
Make eye contact
Everyone likes to feel that they have someone’s full attention when they are in conversation. This can be surprisingly difficult to do if you are at a busy event, because lots of other people are milling around, you may be watching out for somebody specific, or you may be watching the clock – particularly if you are one of the event organisers. However, it is vital to be disciplined when it comes to retaining eye contact with the person you are talking with.
How do you look?
As well as making eye contact it is important that your facial expressions – and your responses – illustrate that you are truly listening and you are interested in the person you are in conversation with. Remember to smile, nod, laugh and respond in a natural and an encouraging way. Bear in mind that those around you may feel a little on edge too – so be the one to put other people at ease.
Check your posture
This can be one of the trickiest things to get right, since many of us have slouchy office posture thanks to years of working at the computer or on a mobile phone. So check your posture at home, in a full-length mirror, and make adjustments. Hunched and stiff posture will make you look uncomfortable in your own skin and less than approachable. An open stance, with natural, open arm and hand movement will encourage people to approach you and engage with you. Avoid folding your arms across your body, leaning against walls or tables. This can make you look bored. If you are struggling to find the ideal way of moving and holding yourself at events, picture the way Barack Obama stands, walks and engages with an audience. He has a very easy, relaxed manner which puts his audience at ease and which makes him look wholly comfortable in every situation – channel your inner Obama!