Many will agree that networking is an important aspect of our careers. We need to connect with other people to develop mutually beneficial relationships. Depending upon where your aspirations lie, networking can also be the key to meeting new people who will open doors for you that you never thought possible. Whether we’re attending meetings inside or outside the workplace, we will find ourselves rubbing elbows with people we don’t know. It can be very intimidating to walk into a crowded room of people you don’t know; especially if it’s work-related and those in attendance are senior VPs or the CEO of your company. Whenever I’m about to walk into a room where I don’t know many of the people, I ask myself how would I walk into a room if I were Kate. Kate walks into a room with an authentic self-confidence. Her poise garners favorable attention from all in her presence. She is composed yet endearing, private yet responsive. I imagine that her bearing sets many people at ease. Immediately, I find myself thinking along these different terms and making improvements.
I first correct my posture and become another half an inch taller. However, good posture is extremely important throughout the day; not just when you’re walking into a crowded room. It’s so easy to become unaware of ourselves until we see our profile in a mirror and realize that we’ve succumbed to a slouch. If you practice good posture at all times then you won’t need to worry about adjusting before you make your grand entrance into a room!
Test your posture by standing against a wall and keep your shoulders square. The back of your head, butt, and heels should be touching the wall and there should be a space at the small of your back. Now walk away from the wall and keep that posture! It’s also important to be mindful of this when you are sitting down. When I’m sitting at my desk at work, I like to do spot checks to see how my posture is measuring up. Otherwise, and especially if I’m tired, I’ll find myself hovering over my keyboard like the Hunchback of Notre Dame.
When Kate is at a gathering, she comes across as extremely approachable. Notice how her arms are never crossed. If they were, she would appear standoffish. Instead, she is most often seen with her left hand clasping her right. If you are among company and have a drink in your hand, hold it with your left hand so that your right hand is free to shake and greet without the unpleasant feel of condensation from your glass.
Being cognizant of body language is key to being approachable. When Kate is photographed while talking, you’ll notice that her eyebrows are often raised. This doesn’t mean she’s necessarily surprised. Lowered brows demonstrate dominance and aggression. However, widening one’s eyes is a submissive eye expression and is done to be perceived as less aggressive. Think of how you greet a friend across the hallway – you’ll find that you often raise your eyebrows ever so slightly! Or when you cooing with a baby – there go those eyebrows again!
Speaking of eyes, make sure you make eye contact with the person you are speaking with and face your whole body towards that person. Be sure to smile! Lastly, don’t be afraid to mingle and meet new people. Find some commonality with a stranger that you can connect on. Networking is no fun if you only talk with the people you know.
Nothing induces more self-confidence then knowing you look great and I swear this is half the battle. When you feel polished, comfortable, and loving of yourself, it will exude from you and be obvious to those around you. I think Kate would tell us to never underestimate the power of a good pair of heels!
I’m a firm believer that sometimes you have to fake the action you want to eventually obtain it. For example, if you’re naturally not a gregarious person, try putting yourself out there and pretend that you are. Sometimes we can fool ourselves into thinking we are something that we’re not, which can be for good or for bad. However, if you’re feeling low in confidence but pretend that you do have it, you may be surprised at how your attitude can quickly change for the better.
Mary and Kelly, I definitely struggle with this, too! (Can’t wait to hear your thoughts, Mary!)
Wonderful advice! I’d love some pointers on being “private yet responsive.” I work in an office of oversharing and inquisitive coworkers. I don’t want to be closed-off, but I am trying to keep more of my life private than most here do and than I’ve done in the past. It’s a delicate balance to strike.
An excellent question, Kelly! This is one which certainly needs addressing. Stay tuned for an upcoming article 😉