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In today’s world, networking is of utmost importance. Here are 5 effective tips on how professional women can network with confidence and class.
For ambitious professional women, networking can be the key to career advancement. It gives you the opportunity to showcase your professional intelligence and meet important decision makers in your company or industry. For some, networking is a natural extension of their day job, and they’re great at it. For others, it conjures up uncertainty and pure stress. How do you get noticed? Who do you talk with? What do you talk about?
I want to share with you the following 5 tips so that professional women and men can use to approach networking events with confidence and class.
Setting goals gives you direction when you’re at a networking event. By establishing in your mind what you want to achieve, you can walk into the networking-event room with purpose and direction. Before each networking event, take out a piece of paper and jot down 1-3 goals you want to achieve at the event. Your goals may be to meet 3 people who can help elevate your career, or to introduce yourself to 3 people whom you’ve never met. Think strategically and choose goals that will help you with your professional advancement.
When you walk into the networking event room, it’s your outfit and your body language that others will notice first. In the office, pastels may make you feel more relaxed, but if you want to be noticed at a networking event, it’s high-contrast colours and bold styles that will help you stand out from the crowd. You may want to add impact to a simple black dress with a contrasting red or white jacket. And don’t forget about your shoes. A pair of striking heels can instantly change your attitude and confidence.
Body language has a major impact on the first impression we make. By adopting powerful body language poses at networking events, you can immediately change your impression from a little insecure to poised and powerful. Confident body language stems from good posture. Hold your rib cage up and keep your head held high. When you hold your head high you expose your neck, the most vulnerable part of your body, and project to the networking crowd confidence and poise. Remember, body language does not only influence how others perceive us, it also influences how we perceive ourselves.
You’ve already established confidence and power through your body language and your outfit. Now, you need to make sure this carries through to your voice. A common issue for women is the ‘upswing’ or ‘uptalk’; the noticeable rise of your voice at the end of your statements. This rise makes your statement sound more like a question and projects the image that you’re unsure of what you’re saying. To avoid being seen as insecure, make a concerted effort to push your voice down at the end of your statements.
If you enter the networking event late and groups have already been formed, it can be a little daunting to walk up to a group and break into their conversation. But if you choose the right group to talk with, you can slide into their conversation with relative ease. When you walk into the room, look to the crowd and take notice of the body language the people are using. Choose a group where one person’s feet and shoulders are slightly turned outward from the group. This usually indicates they are open to others (you) joining them.
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Image of a woman talking to a colleague via Shutterstock
Kara is an international business etiquette expert and the founder of Executive Impressions. Access Kara’
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