Hands annoying for networkers

Anny Chih photo

By Anny Chih, 24 hours Vancouver

Knowing what to do with your hands makes networking that much easier. (FOTOLIA)

Knowing what to do with your hands makes networking that much easier. (FOTOLIA)


After shaking someone’s hand, what do you do with yours? If perspiration was involved, you may want to casually brush your palm against the side of your pants, but that barely takes a second. In this fraction of a moment your once-powerful handshaking displays of confidence suddenly shrink into awkward side appendages in desperate need of a drink to hold. Quick! Where’s the bar?


The bar is a good networker’s best friend. Not only does it provide beverages that keep mouths from parching, but it also offers a constant stream of new guests and a sturdy structure to lean against in poses that suggest a casual, but confident personality. When it gets too crowded, take the security of the bar in the form of a drink to another supporting structure like a standing table or chair railing.

Detail-oriented event planners know to scatter standing tables at events so that guests can pretend their elbows belong somewhere and business cards can be exchanged without spilling drinks. Low tables meant for dining can serve the same purpose, but a good networker knows never to sit at one unless they plan on delving into deep conversation with another guest.

If standing tables and chair railings are not present, it may be tempting to put your free hand in a pocket or begin fidgeting with your nose. Don’t. Pocketed hands and hand-to-nose contact are both signals of deceit, so whomever you are speaking with at the time may not trust what you’re saying as a result. Instead, look at the person whom you’re speaking with and watch where they put their hands. Mirror their stance to show you’re being attentive and feel free to use hand gestures while speaking to avoid looking like a copycat statue.

When a photographer asks your party for a group photo, you can choose to hide your arm around someone else, hold up a glass, or even put your hand on your hip to avoid looking like a standing corpse. Posing with a hand to the hip also has the added benefit of making your arm look more slender in photos.


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