Consummate networkers give the "gift of time" to those with whom they engage to provide them an escape route from the conversation, according to author and communications consultant Mark Jeffries.
Speaking at the IBM Cognos Forum Asia Pacific on the Gold Coast for a second year, Jeffries provided delegates with tips to ensure they got the most out of networking opportunities at the event - without sending those in their immediate vicinity to sleep.
"Networking is fraught with dangers and opportunities," Jeffries said.
"There comes a time when you've pretty much outstayed your welcome. Look for a slow crossing of the arms or where their feet are pointed - it's usually in the direction they want to go.
"Another sign is if they look over your shoulder a lot. [If this is happening] release them, give them the gift of time."
The nodding of the listener's head could also provide body language clues about whether they wanted to stay listening to you or make a break at the first opportunity.
"When you talk to people you should always be monitoring them and adapting what you say based on the selection of signals they give out," Jeffries said.
"For example, when you're talking to someone they will nod [their head] roughly six or seven times per minute. It doesn't mean they're listening but it does mean they want to continue talking to you.
"But if the nodding stops, you should adapt or change the subject or release them and move on."
Jeffries said that nodding was "contagious" and could be used as a tool in negotiations by nodding to emphasise a word or sentence.
An example was: "I know times are tough but [nodding] now is the best time to spend $100,000 on our software".
"They'll nod [subconsciously] and say ‘Yes... I mean no!' But they nodded and where I'm from [the UK], that's a contract," Jeffries joked.