Approaching Networking Events with Confidence

Many of my clients dread going to networking events. To them, these gatherings are like going to the dentist — something that needs to be done, and hopefully will be over quickly and painlessly. But by bringing your inner leader and choosing measurable goals, networking events can be empowering, energizing, and a great way for you to feel successful. The next time you have a networking event, make the conscious decision to approach it differently:

1. Bring your inner leader.

Your inner leader is the part of you that is confident and self-assured. The key is to connect with these qualities in you and deliberately “bring” them to the event. Here’s a way to embody your confidence and inner strength: stand up and find the stance that feels most powerful. Perhaps it’s a feeling of strong legs, open chest, and chin up. Notice the position of your legs, shoulders, arms, and head. What do you feel when you stand in this position? (To read more about “power poses,” watch this must-see TED talk by Amy Cuddy). If you stand in your power pose before each event, you will walk into the room feeling more energized and confident.

2. Imagine what you want people to say about you after meeting you.

What’s your intention for how you want to come across? That you were friendly? Direct? Asked thoughtful questions? Set your intention and choose how you want to “be” at the event. Then allow those qualities of yours to lead your behavior. Having an intention makes the outcome you want much more likely to happen.

3. Set attainable and measurable goals for the event.

Get clear on what would make you feel like this event was a success. What would make you proud of yourself? Connecting with 5 new people? Exchanging business cards with 10 people? Having a conversation with one person at a specific company or in a certain field? It’s easier to work toward to a measurable goal than an unspecified goal.

4. Celebrate and reflect.

Be sure to acknowledge yourself and recognize your effort and achievements afterward. Praise yourself for something you did well, especially if you met your goals or were more confident than usual. In addition, take a moment to reflect on what you learned about yourself and your relationship to networking. That way, you’ll know what you want to do the same or differently next time.

How will you prepare for your next networking event?

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