How to become more effective at Networking Events – Part 14

Respect other people’s personal space

When you are trying to connect with people it is important to realize that we all have an invisable barrier around us called our personal space.

This comfort zone is usually about an arms length all around us.

The closer emotionally we are to someone the closer physically we will allow them to come and still feel comfortable.  Because I have a close relationship with my wife and my kids, I can allow them to enter my comfort zone and still feel comfortable.  However, if a networking partner crossed that barrier, I would feel incredibly uncomfortable. 

I demonstrate this during my training with sales professionals, where I will start to talk about this subject and then just walk up and stand close to someone, intentionally violating their personal space. After talking for a minute I turn to that person and ask “Is this making you feel uncomfortable?” They always say, “Yes”.  Then I ask, them to repeat the last 3 sentences that I said and they can’t. Why? Because when someones enters your personal space it distract them so much that they can’t concentrate on what you are saying.

Not a good way to start a relationship.

You have to earn the right to enter their comfort zone.

When you are just meeting someone for the first time, you haven’t earned anything yet.  In fact, you will never earn that right with 99% of the people you meet. But that is O.K. In the business world you will build the relationship faster, by respecting their personal space.  

And in regards to touching. Handshakes are an acceptable form of touch in most business cultures, but if you are a hugger, wait until you build the relationship further and are invited into their personal space before proceeding.

Remember it is about connecting with them on their terms and if you violate this principle, you will be pushing them away instead of drawing them closer.

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