Close Encounters of the Networking Kind: Power Networking Tips & Techniques

Close Encounters of the Networking Kind: Power Networking Tips & Techniques by Rae Stonehouse, Okanagan-based Author, Speaker, Speech/Presentations Coach, Power Networker & Toastmaster Extraordinaire. Have you ever wondered how close to stand to another person when conversing in a 1 to 1 at a business networking session? Okay, maybe I do have too much spare time as they say but I am sure that this is a question that many people have asked.

While I don’t have a definitive answer, I do have some thoughts on the matter. Many factors including gender, culture, trust, past experiences and self-confidence come into play.

Looking at it from a self-defence, self-preservation perspective, it is helpful to think of each of us having an invisible circle or a safety zone around us. As a preservation measure we tend to keep strangers outside of our safety zone and only let people we trust or are comfortable with into our comfort zone.

In North America our personal safety zone tends to be about three feet in diameter around us. The same distance as our outstretched arm and fist or our outstretched leg if we were intending to strike or kick someone in self-defence. Our comfort zone i.e. the area where we will let those that we trust into tends to be about 18 to 30 inches in diameter.

In a business networking session I’m sure that we don’t attend with the idea that we are going to have to physically defend ourselves. I believe that this is a situation that can cause stress in some people in networking situations. To have an effective discussion with someone who you are meeting for the first time as in a business networking session often means that you are permitting a stranger to enter your comfort zone. Crowded, noisy rooms tend to necessitate drawing in closer to the other person just to be able to hear them well.

While it is socially acceptable for women to hold or touch each other while in conversation, even in a first meeting encounter, the same cannot be said about two men conversing.

You may not even be aware that you have a comfort zone until someone invades it. That feeling of anxiousness, uneasiness may be your subconscious calling to your attention that something isn’t right. Perhaps that is the time to take a step backwards to continue your conversation.

If you are confident in your networking conversations, allowing others into your comfort zone and paying close attention to the conversation by actively participating in it can go a long way in building your reputation as an effective networker and somebody worth meeting and getting to know.

Many networkers have challenges of inserting themselves into groups that have already formed and are actively discussing a topic. A group that the members are standing close enough to converse with each other, yet not within each other’s comfort zones, would likely be a group that would be open to having someone else join them. On the other hand, two people standing very close together, perhaps a little ways away from the rest of the group would seem to be having an intimate conversation and would not likely be open to someone joining them. If they were to separate from each other that could indicate that the private or intimate stage of their conversation has concluded and they were now open to be joined by others.

You can learn a lot be observing others. In your next networking session observe how people are standing. Are they close together or far apart? Does an individual networker use the same technique with everyone they meet or do they vary their closeness in conversation. Try out some different distances to your conversational partner and see how it feels to you.

Top photo credit: Jodi WomackJodi Womackviaphotopinphotopincccc


Rae Stonehouse

Author Bio:

Rae A. Stonehouse is a Canadian born author & speaker. His professional career as a Registered Nurse working predominantly in psychiatry/mental health, has spanned four decades.

Rae has embraced the principal of CANI (Constant and Never-ending Improvement) as promoted by thought leaders such as Tony Robbins and brings that philosophy to each of his publications and presentations.

Rae has dedicated the latter segment of his journey through life to overcoming his personal inhibitions. As a 20+ year member of Toastmasters International he has systematically built his self-confidence and communicating ability. He is passionate about sharing his lessons with his readers and listeners. His publications thus far are of the self-help, self-improvement genre and systematically offer valuable sage advice on a specific topic.

His writing style can be described as being conversational. As an author Rae strives to have a one-to-one conversation with each of his readers, very much like having your own personal self-development coach. Rae is known for having a wry sense of humour that features in his publications.

Author of Self-Help Downloadable E-Books:

Power Networking for Shy PeoplePower Networking for Shy People: Tips & Techniques for Moving from Shy to Sly!

PROtect Yourself!PROtect Yourself! Empowering Tips & Techniques for Personal Safety: A Practical Violence Prevention Manual for Healthcare Workers.

E=Emcee SquaredE=Emcee SquaredTips & Techniques to Becoming a Dynamic Master of Ceremonies.

Power of PromotionPower of Promotion: On-line Marketing for Toastmasters Club Growth


Phone Rae 250-451-6564 or

Rae’s social … are you?


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Copyright 2016 Rae Stonehouse. The above document may be freely copied and distributed as long as the author’s name and contact info remain attached.

To learn more about Rae A. Stonehouse, visit the Wonderful World of Rae Stonehouse at http://raestonehouse.com

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