As I get ready for a speaking engagement in the next couple of days where I will be speaking in front a small group of people where straight afterwards there will be time for networking feels me with excitement and joy.
It does however take me back to 15 years ago before I became a business studies teacher. I was so afraid of speaking confidently with people let alone speaking in front of a crowded room. How things have changed I’m now running my own successful business that causes me to have to do public speaking on many occasions.
I’ve learnt that dealing with ones fears or many can lead you up the road of success.
Have you ever been at a networking function talking to someone when during the conversation you felt very self-conscious trying to say the right thing? If we are all honest we have been here before.
Were you afraid that maybe if you said the wrong thing the person might not find you likeable, and therefore not want to do business with you? If you have, I am about to tell you why you should not worry about it. Like the obnoxious song that plays in my head “Don’t Worry – Be Happy” from years ago, I want to share with you the reason why being careful about what we say works against us in the networking environment.
Oh and here’s the song by Bobby McFerrin – Don’t Worry Be Happy for those of you who might not have heard of it before. You can sing along if you like it is the Christmas season after all…..
Okay on a real note our goal in business networking should be to establish new relationships and through the process of follow-up develop them over time. As with any relationship, being honest plays a very important role in that development.
Just Be You
When we meet someone for the first time, we want to make a good impression. Often we put on our “party face”. This can often cause us problems that we do not expect. One problem is that when we try to appear to be something that we really do not feel inside of us, we often have a fear that we are going to be “discovered”. This fear causes us to feel uncomfortable about the situation and though we may be smiling, we are really cringing inside.
Don’t feel bad about this, this is our first normal natural reaction I’ve done it before myself but I don’t stop there now a days.
You see most people worry that if they just be who they are, that no one can or would accept them for who they really are. I argue that if we do not just be ourselves, sooner or later who we really are will slip out and then we will have to deal with the consequences of being discovered. This then leads to a feeling of distrust between people.
As the song says by Bobby McFerrin – ‘Don’t Worry Be Happy‘ Truly not worrying about how people may judge or look at you can set you free of having to perform for the camera.
Have you ever been in a relationship with a person of the opposite sex where you did not tell them something important early on and later had to reveal it or even worse it was revealed by accident? It leads for difficult times after that and a lot of shuffling and apologising.
In my opinion, it is better to risk being who I am up front. To let people know exactly how I feel. People, for the most part, have a forgiving nature. They actually want to forgive. If you make a mistake and say something that can be potentially embarrassing, you can always apologise for it and be forgiven.
Throw It All To The Wind
If you go into a networking environment prepared to be relaxed and genuine, you will find that it is a lot more fun to be there. If you have a plan of action to really get to know people, you will be much more productive in a shorter amount of time. People will feel comfortable talking to you and you to them. In an environment of truth, more people will want to do business with you and to be around you.
Authentic enthusiasm is contagious. You will always appear to be more attractive when you are excited about what you are doing. When you are not worried about making mistakes, you will appear to be happier. Being happy about the situation will help you to smile more, and the natural smiling face is a natural human attractor.
So next time you attend a networking function, just be yourself. Your results will improve and you will feel better when you leave to go home. Over time, the difference will be measurable in more ways than just your income. You will find that you have more friends than you had ever imagined possible. When it comes time for the referral, your friend will remember you because friends really do refer friends.
I wish you all a great Friday and weekend see you all on Monday
Author: Rachael Aprill Phillips
Bio: Rachael Aprill Phillips is the CEO and founder of The Richible Group a collective of companies whose vision is to help over a million people launch, run and grow a highly successful business. She was also named Top Global Marketing Expert by Huffington Post.