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? 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 “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.
Your goal in business networking should be to establish strategic professional relationships and through the process of follow-up, develop those strategic relationships over time. As with any strategic professional relationship, being honest plays a very important role in that development.
When we meet someone for the first time, we want to make a good impression. Often we put on our “smart face” so that we do. 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.
Most people worry that if they just be who they are, that no one can accept them. 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.
The next time you are at an event (say for instance, OPTIMUM Women Leadership and Development Conference, I’m just saying) be prepared to be relaxed and be 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.
I look forward to meeting you at OPTIMUM Women Leadership and Development Conference, and invite you to just be yourself. Your results of building strategic relationships will improve and you will feel better when you leave to go home because you choose to be yourself.