Our upcoming two-day Executive Presence Training session on September 18 and 19 is just around the corner, and we are gearing up for a great workshop! In advance of our first-ever open enrollment training, on our blog we are featuring topics covered in the sessions. Want to learn more after reading the blog? Enrollment for the full session is now open!
This week’s topic is Working a Room. Whether you are at a networking event, a cocktail party, a gala, or even an occasion unrelated to business, the ability to work a room is an essential skill. How do you interact with others in a meaningful and memorable way, and leave the room with lasting connections?
Below are a few strategies to make yourself known to others and to kick off professional relationships:
- Initiate and maintain eye contact
As you navigate through the room, the first step to breaking into a conversation is to make eye contact with someone you would like to meet. Drawing in their attention will show him or her your focus and interest. After the conversation has begun, maintain this level of eye contact, which will demonstrate your engagement in the conversation.
- Posture and power posing
Your posture can and should exude confidence. Standing tall with good posture can not only make you look confident, it can also make you feel confident, according to a study conducted by Harvard Business School professor Amy J. C. Cuddy and colleagues. When you are meeting new people, looking and feeling confident is key: not only will your new contacts remember this quality about you, but it will also help you to initiate conversations and “break the ice” with new people.
- Inviting body language
Like good posture and power posing, body language can send a message without words. To work a room successfully, ensure that your body language says that you are open and inviting. Crossed arms, hunched shoulders, or turning your body away from someone can all show that you are not enthusiastic about interacting with others. On the other hand, open arms, broad shoulders, and a smile on your face show that you are friendly and interested to meet others.
- Be the one to strike up the conversation
Demonstrate initiative – and make others feel at ease – by being the one to start a conversation. You may be surprised at how shy or uneasy many professionals feel in a room full of strangers, and taking the lead may be appreciated by others. Not to mention, it will boost your confidence to be assertive rather than hide behind the potted plant in the corner.
- Avoid wandering aimlessly
Head into an event with a strategy in place. Nisa Chitakesem, co-author of 135 Networking Career Tips, offers a few great strategy tips in a Forbes blog. Among them: set targets (such as “speak to three new people”) before you even arrive at the event, and survey the crowd for individuals or small groups whose body language and positions make them appear open to meeting new people.
Want to learn more about how to work a room, and acquire other skills that will enhance your Executive Presence? Enroll now in the two-day Executive Presence Training Session – and we’ll see you on September 18!