In his book Croissants vs. Bagels: Strategic, Effective, and Inclusive Networking at Conferences, networking expert Robbie Samuels points out that open body language is the key to meeting new people and inviting people who may feel on the outside to feel more welcome.
It can come down to one very simple thing — how you stand. Demonstrating this stance in his TEDx Talk (watch below), Samuels showed that by putting your weight on your back foot, feet about shoulder-width apart and with your front foot slightly turned out as if you’re about to take a step, you have the mobility to move in any direction.
If one person in a closed circle of conversationalists takes this stance, it also creates an opening that enables a person who is hovering outside the circle to take a step in — an invitation of sorts to join. Instead of a closed-off bagel, the group takes the shape of a croissant.
Jennifer N. Dienst is senior editor of Convene.