Confidence techniques can be applied to any aspect of your work, including networking. What are the confidence techniques you can use that can help you to network easily and confidently?
There are many different ones. I'll cover three of them here to show you how they can be applied to boosting your networking confidence and skills.
Confidence techniques 1: Replay happy memories.
Many people who are a little shy of networking, who get nervous about going, or who feel intimidated by the whole process, can benefit from the "snapshots of confidence" technique. It is very simple, yet profound.
All you have to do is to recall happy confident images in your mind before going to a networking event. (A fuller description of the technique is here: "Snapshots radiate confidence".)
Once you've recalled the images replace them.
Substitute the negative networking images, the worst case scenarios and the imagined problems, with your happy memories of when you have been confident and happy.
Every time you think of networking bring to mind your happy memory. The night before your networking event recall your happy memory. When you are driving to the event replay your happy memory.
Confidence techniques, such as these, require you to practise.
This means that you don't just recall the happy memories once but hundreds, perhaps thousands of times.
Every time you think of networking, or read a networking invitation, or prepare for a networking event, recall your happy images, over and over again.
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Confidence techniques 2: Prepare topics to talk about.
A lack of confidence about networking can occur simply because your expectations are too high, your preparation levels too low, and your actual skills not yet developed.
For example, networking requires you to be able to hold an interesting conversation. This in turn requires you to have a number of interesting topics to talk about.
What I find is that some people expect these topics to magically appear when they approach a group of people. They expect that they can sit down next to strangers at a table and have conversation topics arriving from nowhere.
For most of us this is a totally unreasonable expectation. Topics seldom fill our brains, and especially not when we feel awkward, nervous or shy.
Preparation is one of the many confidence techniques you can use to become a brilliant conversationalist.
People can spend time preparing transport to and from the networking venue, they can devote endless hours to wearing the right clothes and make-up, they can check out Google Maps for the direction, and think they have done all the preparation. They haven't.
This is preparation at too low a level. Why? Because they've failed to prepare the crucial element that can make networking tick along smoothly - topics of conversation.
Yes, if you lack confidence when you are networking, prepare topics to talk about in advance. Not just one or two topics but up to ten topics. Not just topics that only you can speak on but topics that are common to the interests of many people. Not just topics to do with work, but topics that cover the whole gamut of human interests.
By preparing topics in advance you are far more likely to be able to avoid running out of things to say. Better still, no one else need ever know you are using confidence techniques and preparing in advance. They'll simply be impressed with your ability to keep the conversation going.
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Confidence techniques 3: "Staying in the now".
Our confidence can be undermined by worries about the future and concerns or bad memories from the past. For example, if last time you went networking you got stuck with someone who was boring and you keep reminding yourself of how bad this was for you, your confidence will be diminished.
If you start to anticipate the networking event and imagine the difficulty you'll have breaking into groups, you may increase your anxiety and knock your confidence.
In contrast, stop worrying about what may go wrong when you get there. Stop spending time going over and over what happened in the past. Stop destroying your confidence.
Build your confidence by staying in the now.
This is a huge topic and technique all on its own, so I won't fully describe it here. More details can be found elsewhere on the site and on our meditation CDs. What matters here is that you know that if you focus on whatever is happening in each moment your confidence can build when networking.
Thus, when you are driving to the networking event pay full attention to your driving. Notice 100% what is going on around you, inside and outside the car. Notice how you are sitting. How you are holding the wheel. How long the distance is between you and the car in front. What the speed restrictions are. What hazards there are on your left and right. Pay full attention to what is happening now.
When you walk in your mind will be clear and confidence has far more chance of accompanying you.
At the networking event do the same thing. Notice who is smiling at you. Notice where there is a gap you can fade into in a group so you can join in. Notice your steps as you walk across the floor. Notice the warmth of the person's hand as you shake it. Notice the colour of their eyes.
Stay in the present moment. It is, after all, the only reality there is.
There are many confidence techniques available to you so you can find networking easy.
Which confidence techniques will you choose to apply to your own networking? After all, you might as well enjoy your networking. And confidence techniques can help you do just that.
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Written by Rachel Green: Motivational Speaker | Award-winning Communication & Networking Specialist.
Got a networking event coming up and wanting to make sure everyone enjoys themselves? Let Rachel facilitate the networking for you so everyone mingles, makes conversations easily and has a wonderful time. Everyone will also learn an important set of conversation and networking skills, gain confidence and build their networks. Perfect! Let her show you how to put the FUN into your FUNctions.
She is also the author of the 3 CD set: Be a winner at dinner: How to network and chat with confidence and skill.