Beware - Borders and Boundaries

on January 20, 2009

Have you ever had someone get right up in your face when they are talking to you? So close in fact that a letter "S' results in an unwanted shower?

Often when we are out networking, we find ourselves in a loud environment as people try to talk louder to be heard over people trying to talk louder to be heard. This results in a roar that makes regular conversation difficult.

The temptation in this atmosphere is to get very close to another person so they can hear you and you them. This can result in being too close to another person sometimes making them very uncomfortable. This discomfort is heightened when we have been consuming alcohol and the person we are talking to have not.

Each of us has our own comfort zone boundary. This is a space around us that when another person enters we begin to feel uncomfortable. A good way to relate to this is to remember if you have ever had an argument where someone got right up in your face and possibly even pointed their finger very near to it. Remember how that made you feel? In most cases it makes a person feel more angry.

In a networking environment it is important to maintain a distance from a person that you are talking to. This distance should be almost an arms length. Most peoples comfort boundary is about the length of their arm. If you find yourself getting very close to someone in conversation, imagine if you raised your arm and that is the distance that you should be from the other person. If they move closer to you in the course of conversation, it is acceptable to them to be closer. If it is acceptable to you then continue with the conversation at that distance.

You can sometimes tell if you are standing too close to someone if they seem to be moving back while you are talking to them. If they appear to be getting further away from you, do not move to be closer to them. They will stop when they reach the distance that they are comfortable with. If they turn and walk away of course it is time to find someone else to talk to.

To be most effective in your attempts to build relationships with others, it is most important to keep these things in mind. Remember that it makes no difference what you say to a person if they are not engaged in the conversation. Good observance of boundaries can give you the edge you need to make networking work.

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