by Laura West
Do you have Networking Anxiety?
You know how it goes…
You said YES.
You agreed to go to a networking lunch or dinner. You paid your fee.
Now you are regretting it.
You are sitting in the parking lot in your car gathering up your courage, confidence and chutzpah to go inside.
And… just in case anyone is watching you in your parked car… you fake them out by studying your phone, reapplying your makeup, fixing your hair and posting on facebook one more time.
You want to go but you don’t.
Can you relate?
Have you asked yourself what this Networking Anxiety is really all about?
See if you fit into one of these categories:
Are you more introverted, and it takes a lot of energy to go into crowds and find your place in the room?
Maybe you are hugely empathic and so going into a place with a lot of people where there’s lots of energy takes a big toll on you physically, emotionally and even spiritually.
You might feel like you don’t have as much confidence to go inside because you are still trying to figure out if what you offer in your business has value. Or you might KNOW you have value but are already worrying about how you are going to explain it and if you’ll get your message “right.”
Or, you are thinking… what if they find out what terrible thing happened this week and you really are a fraud?
And this thought is really popular, you’re psyching yourself up to go inside and GET CLIENTS NOW! You can feel the massive pressure and expectations building up. If you were really good in your business you would kick as* and leave with a bunch of clients. That’s what’s supposed to happen, right?
Let me first say, it’s all right. Breathe.
I feel my anxiety rising just writing this!
Almost everyone feels one of these things at some point and time. Even natural connectors and extroverts have off days.
And many of you feel this every single time you get ready to go inside.
Just this week I’ve coached at least 5 clients about their networking anxiety.
Here’s a few things you can do to take control of your energy, your confidence and create a surprisingly delightful and productive networking experience:
1. When you are on your way driving to the event, say to yourself (instead of how much you wish you weren’t going…) that you are looking forward to being surprisingly delighted at this event. Seriously… let go of the intense pressure and see yourself driving home feeling delighted by the people you met and the conversations. This is incredibly powerful and will change HOW you show up at the event. Instead of being all tense and anxious… you are relaxed and curious about how you are going to be delighted!
2. As you are sitting in your car, especially if you are highly sensitive and empathic, you need to protect your energy before going inside. Picture yourself in a golden light bubble. Imagine that all the energy from the people at the event and energy leftover from other events will just flow right around you. It doesn’t come into your bubble. You are protected. You can show up and smile but you don’t have to take on everyone’s energy.
3. Now set your intentions for the networking meeting. Let me tell you – it’s not about “landing a bunch of clients.” Rarely do people GET clients at networking meetings. Shift your focus. It’s about connecting with people. Getting curious about their business and life. Seeing who you naturally feel a connection with. Having interesting conversations. Contributing ideas or resources. Instead of focusing on what can YOU GET, focus on what can YOU GIVE. People will remember how you made them feel. When you show up like this… people will want to get to know YOU.
4. Be clear about what you would love to have happen:
“I would love to meet 2 people who are interesting!”
“I’d love to have people magnetically come to me to engage in a conversation!”
“I’d love to get some referrals for speaking opportunities.”
“I’d love to meet at least 3 people I’d like to have follow up conversations with.” (These may not be potential clients but could be, or could be referral partners or may just give you inspiration.)
5. If you are more introverted – go with a friend and have a networking buddy. Make a pact that you can always come back to each other if you find yourself standing alone or feeling out of sorts.
6. Instead of focusing on the perfect elevator speech, talk about your excitement for the work you do for certain people or a new project you are working on. Not to sell someone but to share your excitement. That is the biggest attraction factor – not the perfect words.
These suggestions take practice. I do them each and every time I go to a networking event, and coach my clients on how to create their own strategies to shift their Networking Anxiety to show up in a more powerful way.
I will tell you that these strategies are essential to your success. They will change the way you show up at networking events.
You might even find that once you are more grounded and let go of crazy expectations, you’ll have a great time… and THAT right there… having a great time… will make people want to be around you! Networking becomes so much easier!
Let me know how it goes for you. I’d love to hear!
To Your Big Beautiful Amazing Success,
2018 Creative Business Retreat By-The-Sea
October 25 – 28
On the oceanfront, Virginia Beach, Virginia
Want to join us?
We have just opened the doors and we are almost full! It’s an amazing place of rejuvenation and reinvention. It’s a place where your mind, body & spirit get nourished.
This year we are focusing on Creative Alchemy. You’ll be immersed in the inner and outer processes for inviting your heart to create what’s next.
What a couple of past Wagamamma’s (that’s what we call ourselves… you’ll have to come to the retreat to understand it) have shared:
Mie Potter from Greenville, SC says: “This is the best gift you can give yourself and your business!”
Marie Fratoni, GetClientsEverywhere.com says: “Laura is one of the most brilliant coaches I know! She’s so smart and creates beautiful experiences. You’ve gotta go to her retreat!”
Carolyn Cooper of SimplyHealed.com shared: “Laura helps me move from my overworked brain to my heart and reconnect to my creativity again. Plus, she attracts the most amazing people! I have so many great ideas to take back home!”
Check out more details here and let’s have a conversation! There’s only a few spots AND there’s an early bird sign up – so don’t wait! Creative Business Retreat By-The-Sea.