If you’re like me, then networking for work causes you major social anxiety. In fact, networking scares me so much that I find excuses not to do it and it’s taken a significant toll on my career by doing so. Getting more clients for myself is part of my job, and hence makes my company and me more money. I inherited my client book from my mentor and have since not grown it much at all.
To me, networking events and going to bars after work where potential clients may be, felt like speed dating. I felt a pressure in these situations that I didn’t in a regular one on one meeting. I felt judged, and I measured myself up to the other people in the room trying to get clients too. I felt inferior and ill-prepared, from my sales pitch intro all the way down to the scuffs on my shoes. This brought on excessive sweat, which became embarrassing, and then fidgeting due to the sweating. All in all, this dropped my confidence, and I stopped going to networking situations completely.
Well, that was until I finally went to see a therapist and we worked on these five tips that I’m about to give you.
1. Go in with a plan
I wasn’t planning out my networking before I went into the battle. So I did my best to research who was going to be there or who I thought might be there. I sought out those individuals when I arrived and had specific pitches for each person. Using this strategy, I didn’t feel like anyone else was in the room. I had everything mapped out, and I trusted that my map was correct.
2. Wear something you feel confident in
I was always feeling judged, even down to my clothes, so this means I had to go shopping. I bought a few different outfits specifically for these types of events only. I would only wear these clothes at networking events, knowing they were always in pristine condition. Just the thought of knowing this helped boost my confidence level as it was one less thing to think about.
3. Practice a power-pose
Stand up straight and put your hands on your hips with your chest out and chin up. Do this in front of the mirror before you leave to give yourself a little boost. Practicing a power-pose will naturally raise your confidence level. If you start to feel overwhelmed, take a moment to step aside and power-pose to retain your composure.
4. Leave it at the door
One of the hardest things to do is to leave your work at work. However, this is a must. Be proud of yourself for your networking job well done and when you exit the room, drop whatever thoughts you were thinking. Don’t analyze the day at all. Just be. You don’t need any negative thoughts creeping into your head.
5. Reward yourself
When you’ve made it through, do something for yourself that feels good. Go to a movie, take a long bath, eat your favorite meal. Always know that at the end of your networking day, you’ll always treat yourself to something special. Become a self-care expert and celebrate the fact that you made it through a networking event and that you’re still alive to talk about it.
This post was written by our guest blogger, James Bryson.