You’re so great at meeting people.
I never know what to say.
I get social anxiety.
What if people think I’m weird.
These are things I get asked and told almost all the time. I’m going to share my ‘secrets’ and how you can change being scared to network into confidence in 15 minutes.
I have discovered after making it a point (or forcing myself) to attend many, many networking events, that I am one of those in-betweeners. I’ve somehow perfected the craft of turning on and magnifying a part of my personality whenever I need it. I’m neither an extrovert, or an introvert- rather an ambivert. Sometimes busy events EXCITE me, other times, it EXHAUSTS me.
Wherever you are in your career (whether it is in the creative industry, banking, ANYTHING), networking is a desirable and instrumental skill to have, not only in your professional, but personal life as well.
I’m no superhuman who feels no fear when meeting a large number of strangers, but I’ve found a couple of things that help me turn on that extroverted part of myself when a social occasion arises. Here are some TIPS from personal experience that has helped me meet new people & make new friends, and also remain professional and confident at the same time!
1. Use your WARDROBE to help your CONFIDENCE
The clothing you wear DOES affect how you feel – whether you choose to believe it or not. I’ve always believed in how you tend to choose clothing based on how you feel and that can inadvertently craft the rest of your day. The same can be said about curbing that Networking Scare! Do you wear Red to a networking event? or something less eye catching- Blue? In my Colour Series, I listed out all the colours (Red, Blue, Green, Black) etc does play a role in how others perceive and make conclusions on you as well as how confident you feel. You know, like how wearing workout clothing makes you more excited to work out!
Long story short, if you feel comfortable and confident in what your wear, it shows in how you behave. I usually tend to stick to Reds and Blacks – because it stands out, activates the brain and looks professional.
2. Put your HANDS IN THE AIR, and wave em’ like you just don’t care
No, literally. LITERALLY do that. You may laugh but if I remember anything at all from my 4 years of study in Psychology, it’s the power of body language. Yes, you can actually trick your mind into feeling more confident to network. If networking scares you, this can be done in less than 15 minutes!
I do 3 THINGS. Lift both my hands in the air, above my head and wave it for a good few minutes. I usually do this in the parking lot, washroom, and random corners haha. Number 2, I stretch my shoulders back, and adjust my posture to stand straight. Number 3, I smile (simple as that)- Smiling triggers happiness.
3. Don’t Think Too Much
You can think about alot of things in 15 minutes, so why fret yourself by looking around the room, thinking about judgment while sipping on the free wine?
During my first few networking events, and during my latest trip to Los Angeles for Vanity Fair x Emmys (which is going on the blog next week), I did the exact same thing I’m about to tell you.
It’s all about being mentally ready for something- very similar to preparing for a speech or writing your vows (haha), you need to close your eyes and picture the situation and prepare yourself prior to the networking event. But once you are there, all that mental preparation should be set on automatic pilot. My rule: COUNT TO THREE AND DO IT. If you see someone you want to say hello to, don’t think too much into it, count to 3 and walk up and say hi- and let autopilot go on from there.
Different people portray themselves differently and that’s what makes YOU unique. Whether it’s how different people pose in the same dress or how you decide to introduce yourself- stay true to your personality and wear it with confidence.
But most importantly, have fun 🙂 Do you know anyone who needs this? Be sure to Pin this/Tweet This/Share on Facebook!
Thanks for reading everyone, hope these tips will serve to help you in breaking that social anxiety at networking events! COMMENT below and let me know what you do to curb being nervous!
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