Every time you walk into a networking event, you are being evaluated. Your clothes, your posture, the way you walk and even your facial expressions are being read by every person who watches you enter. Within the space of a few seconds, they will decide whether you are confident, decisive, trustworthy and calm: four desirable characteristics of a powerful professional.
How exactly do you project all of this in just a few seconds? When you approach the doors of the networking event room that you know will be full of strangers, how do you shake your nerves and walk in with power?
Dress in High-Contrast Colours
Start by saying ‘I’m here to be noticed’. Dress in colours that are strikingly different. Remember Melanie Griffith in Working Girl? The costume designers skilfully expressed her transformation from a meek secretary to a high-powered investment banker by moving her character from low-contrast creams to high-contrast black and white. Colours influence how we are perceived.
Raise Your Height
When you look tall, you project a sense of authority. Even if you weren’t blessed with the height of a supermodel, you can still create the illusion that you’re tall. How? By listening to what your mother has probably been telling you since you were a child: keep your head high, rib cage up and shoulders back. This posture reveals the most vulnerable part of your body, your neck, and will shout out to that networking crowd ‘I’m not afraid’.
Take Larger Steps
Walking into a networking event taking slightly bigger steps than usual and swinging those arms communicates that you are there for a purpose. Have you ever noticed how police officers walk? This style of walking takes up more space and consequently projects strength and self-assurance.
Hide Your Nerves
Striking up a conversation with a stranger at a networking event takes a lot of courage. Even if you’re a bundle of nerves on the inside, nobody on the outside will see that, unless you project it. How do you project confidence and find somebody to talk with when you walk into the room?
A. Look at a point farthest from the door when you enter.
B. Lower your vision to the crowd.
C. Smile and make direct eye contact with somebody who looks interesting.
By lifting your chin and looking above everybody else you will look and feel fearless.